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Analyzing Consumers & Video Content

April 9, 2014 By Johannah O’Keefe, CEA
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This past Thanksgiving marked the one-year anniversary of cutting my cable cord  – and I have no regrets. Between my paid online content subscriptions, DVD library and high-speed Internet connection, I found I could fulfill all of my video content needs without paying the high cost of cable. 

Many consumers are enjoying the flexibility and variety the Internet brings to their video content practices. Though true cord-cutters remain a minority among online U.S. adults, variations on the same logic that brought me to my decision are motivating many other consumers to supplement, if not replace, their cable subscriptions with other video content options.

Video content behavior
CEA’s recent study, Video Content Discovery and Purchasing Trends, reveals consumers are supplementing traditional television programming with their DVD/Blu-ray discs (66 percent), free video streaming services (47 percent) and paid video streaming services (37 percent).

Unsurprisingly, online video streaming is more common among younger consumers ages 18-34, though use of traditional television programming remains consistent across all age groups.

With faster Internet access and dramatic advancements in mobile technology, consumers are taking advantage of emerging online services and using them to supplement the traditional television programming they already enjoy.

Sources of new content discovery
More than half (53 percent) of consumers skip the commercials embedded in traditional television programming. However, consumers greatly rely on that same television programming for discovering new TV and movie content. Channel surfing (44 percent), and viewing program guides (44 percent) and TV commercials (39 percent) are top ways consumers find new movies. In their quest for new TV shows, consumers are channel surfing (50 percent), watching program guides (47 percent) and TV commercials (47 percent). 

Physical vs. digital
Consumers are enthusiastically engaging with alternative methods of content consumption, but remain committed to their physical content libraries of Blu-ray and DVD discs. Over three-fourths (77 percent) of online U.S. adults own some type of digital video content, but DVD and Blu-ray discs still make up 60 percent of video libraries. This is particularly true of movies, as three-fourths (74 percent) purchase or rent them in DVD or Blu-ray disc forms.

Digital content is appealing because it can be accessed anywhere (36 percent), is easily stored (35 percent), well-priced (32 percent), instantly accessible (32 percent) and easily watched on connected devices (27 percent). Physical content is appealing to consumers because it is tangible (52 percent) and is compatible with DVD and Blu-ray players (50 percent).

Content types
Viewing behavior largely depends on content type. For example, consumers strongly prefer to watch sports content live (89 percent), but TV shows (41 percent) and movies (40 percent) are more likely to be recorded on a DVR. In fact, consumers who already watch traditional television programming are more likely to buy full seasons/episodes of TV shows (42 percent) than rent them (19 percent), which speaks to consumers’ overall preference for content ownership.Consumers are only slightly more likely to buy movies (63 percent) than rent (58 percent) them. With consumers almost three times as likely to rent movies than television shows, TV programs may not benefit from a rental model, and should instead be marketed for purchase.


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