Online TV consumption rockets 388%
Joseph O'Halloran
| 21 October 2014
The increased mass availability of new TV-capable platforms such as game consoles and OTT devices has had a profound effect on TV consumption in the last year according to a survey from Adobe.

In the Video Benchmark Report, Adobe aggregated data from more than 1,300 media and entertainment properties and included 165 billion total online video starts and 1.53 billion TV everywhere authentications across 250 pay-TV service providers covering 99% of pay-TV households in the US.

Fundamentally the report found that more people watched more TV online than ever before with TV consumption across devices rocketing 388% year-over-year (YoY) and unique monthly viewers increasing by 146% across browsers and TV apps.

The World Cup in the summer of 2014 was a key driver for the surge yet for the first time, watching films online exceeded watching sports content. Indeed film networks saw the strongest gain in viewing frequency, 125% YoY, from two movies to 4.5 movies on average per month. Broadcast and cable networks saw a yearly increase of 81% for episodic content watched each month. Viewers watched 4.2 sporting events on average across sports networks, an overall monthly increase of 31%.

The report also revealed that while online TV consumption remains fragmented across platforms, gaming consoles and over-the-top (OTT) devices gained the largest percentage of market share and Android apps surpassed desktop browsers as access points for watching TV online. The amount of online TV content watched per viewer grew by 55% while 105 TV channels now power more than 300 online TV sites and apps in the US.

Of all device types, game consoles and OTT devices saw the biggest market share increase, 194%, and now represent a tenth of all online TV consumption, up from a mere 3% in 2013. The online TV market share for Android apps grew to 20 %, an increase of 28%, surpassing browsers, which shrank to 19% market share, a 41% decline YoY, and iOS apps still lead in market share with 51%.

Interestingly, Adobe found that viewing of online videos on smartphones (14% share) surpassed tablets (13%) for the first time. Game consoles and OTT devices realised the highest market share growth with 127% YoY growth. Viewers watched videos on desktops the longest and were three times more likely to finish three-quarters of the content. Only 17% of videos on smartphones were watched through this completion benchmark.

"Consumers' content consumption habits are changing rapidly," said Jeremy Helfand, vice president, Primetime at Adobe. "Viewers expect seamless, more personalised viewing experiences across an ever-increasing number of devices, and broadcasters, media companies and advertisers must transform their digital strategies to optimise the viewing experience."