Netflix Leads In U.S. Digital Video Subscriptions In Home And Among Millennials

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Companies like Amazon, Apple, pay-TV operators, broadcasters and many others are working hard to be the leading consumer brands of the digital video world. For now, they are all chasing one: Netflix.

A survey out today from comScore on video viewing habits found that Netflix is the leading brand among U.S. households that subscribe to paid digital video subscription services, and it’s also the leading subscription service among the much-coveted Millennial, 18-34 year-old, demographic.

But lest you think this is a klaxon for the new era of video consumption and shuttering of broadcast business models, it’s not. We have yet to reach the tipping point for digital video subscriptions, with only four out of 10 households subscribing. Also, older age groups are still heavily leaning to more traditional TV services for their video fix.

And when it comes to what kinds of screens are still king, the traditional TV still seems to win out, with smartphones and their smaller screens possibly the most portable, but clearly not the most preferable medium:

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In another category of viewing, covering original TV series, comScore found that Millennials spend one-third of their viewing time watching on digital platforms, with computers driving the majority of that activity. “Generally speaking, the older the viewer the greater percentage of time spent watching on ‘traditional’ TV sets,” comScore notes.

While Netflix accounted for 32% of all digital video subscriptions, Amazon Prime Instant Video took 19% share, while Hulu Plus is in third at 9%. ComScore says that Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast are the most popular methods for watching, accounting for 44% of all users, while computers and gaming consoles/Blu-Ray came in behind that at 27% and 21% respectively. The Chromecast figures are not too surprising, given that the Chromecast came out at the top of a recent connected device survey.

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ComScore surveyed 1,159 respondents online between August 21 and August 28, 2014, and here are some of the other findings — specifically, evidence of traditional TV being gradually phased out by younger viewers.

— comScore says that one out of six Millennials said they did not watch any original TV series from traditional TV sets within the past 30 days, “a significant trend highlighting the potential for linear TV viewing to erode over time.”

  • — More Millennials shunning of unconnected devices. They are “significantly more likely to watch TV from an internet-connected TV device” like Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast or a gaming console like the Xbox or PlayStation, “suggesting that when they do watch original series content on a traditional TV set they often do so through a digital connection and content streaming.”
  • — Binge viewing is big, and it’s a vote in favor of those bigger screens. ComScore says that 84% of viewers said they preferred to binge watch television shows from their TV set as opposed to other screens.
  • — Time-shifting, versus live viewing, is now used by at least one-third of users, and more the younger the viewer. comScore found that 46% of Millennials’ viewing is time-shifted and not live; the figures are 35% for 35-54 year-olds and 30% for those older than the age of 55. Perhaps obviously, you are more likely to watch time-shifted programming if you subscribe to a service like Netflix than if you do not.