Only One-Third of TV-Watching in the U.S. Is Realtime

Cord-cutting may be an unproven myth, but new research suggests that people’s television habits are changing in a way you wouldn’t expect: Only a third of all television viewing nowadays happens “live,” without the Internet, TiVo or some other form of recording or time shifting.

The claim comes from DVR company TiVo, who you could call an interested party when it comes to time-shifting programming. TiVo reports that among its users, only 38% of television viewing happens in realtime, with that number falling to just 27% for viewers who also use Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus and other online viewing outlets. It’s not something advertisers or television networks want to hear, but it’s beginning to look like television viewing as we know (or knew) it is quietly dying.

TiVo SVP and general manager of content and media sales Tara Maitra puts it this way: “This new second-by-second data shows that on demand viewing though a combination of time shifting on the DVR and broadband OTT has become a huge part of the consumer’s entertainment mix. It really has become all about whatever they want to watch, whenever they want to watch it.”

With these figures demonstrating all the ways people can access television content as well as showing how few people are watching television “traditionally,” it’ll be interesting to see whether networks stop relying on overnight viewing figures when it comes to programming decisions. It also raises the question of whether advertisers will stop buying time for traditional TV ads, which viewers probably just speed past these days.


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