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The New TV Screen: Streaming Takes on Cable

The New TV Screen: Streaming Takes on Cable

The numbers are in from Nielsen’s third-quarter 2014 Total Audience Report and the results confirm that consumers are increasingly opting for streaming services over traditional TV. According to the report, traditional TV viewing dropped over 4% since Q3 last year; that’s a decrease of six hours per month, which is nothing to sneeze at. On the flip side, time spent viewing streaming services increased a whopping 60% to 11 hours since Q3 last year.

So, what does this mean? Consumers are actually spending more time consuming content, but they are using other services and devices to do it. In fact, all aspects of traditional TV viewing seemed to decline since last year, while all aspects of digital and streaming services seemed to increase.

Although digital video (defined by Nielsen as video content viewed on a computer or mobile device) has experienced significant growth (up 62% from last year for adults 25 to 54), that ever-present TV screen isn’t going away just yet; how consumers are using it is just changing. Once synonymous, the words television and cable are quickly unbundling from each other. “Watching TV” can now mean streaming the latest season of Orange is the New Black from Netflix, or using Chromecast to watch a favorite holiday movie that’s available on Amazon Instant Video.

As the report states: “...consumer demand is not changing the appetite for quality, professionally produced content.” As the dominance of traditional linear broadcast TV comes to an end, today's viewers expect a simple, convenient, and high-quality experience every time. This means that pay models are proliferating as well, from traditional ad-supported models to purchase, rental, and subscription for both live and video-on-demand content. For media companies, the transformation of TV presents powerful new opportunities to engage audiences and build revenue — but it also poses new challenges around content delivery, content protection, measurement, and scale.

Download our whitepaper: The Transformation of TV to learn more about the implications for media companies and how to implement a complete multi-platform strategy for the new world of TV with Brightcove solutions and best practices.