Digital media players detract from, but maybe enhance, regular TV
Joseph O'Halloran
| 02 December 2014
Whatever they do, they are certainly having an influence of some sort on how we watch TV, new research by GfK has revealed regarding digital media players.

RokuSeagateThe GfK report shows that 19% of TV viewers now own at least one of the three major digital media players: Roku, Google's Chromecast, or Apple TV. This represents a 10-fold increase over the 2010 ownership level (2%).

Worryingly for the pay-TV industry, the survey found that around a third of owners of such devices depending on the individual product make have reduced or eliminated service because of them. Roku owners are most likely to report cord slicing or cord cutting, with Chromecast and Apple TV at essentially the same levels.

Yet the yet the research also suggested that the online video hardware may actually provide a net gain for traditional TV viewing. Indeed devices 4350% of digital media player owners say that they use the devices in addition to their regular TV viewing larger than the proportions (3142%) that use them to substitute for traditional TV. Chromecast owners are most likely to report that their digital player supplements, rather than replaces, broadcast TV. In addition, 2136% of digital media player owners say they now watch some networks, services, or programs because of their availability on the devices, with Roku users reporting the highest levels of so-called new viewing

"Digital media players take a primary role in users' viewing behaviour, ranking as the first or second destination ahead of live TV or DVRs when deciding what to watch in primetime," said GfK senior vice president David Tice commenting on the Digital Media Players 2014 report. "However, a positive note for linear networks is that digital media player users don't perceive their use as cannibalising their regular TV viewing."