Here’s a bit of research that one can take for face value, or perhaps leave open for interpretation.
According to Hub Entertainment Research, known for reports focused on consumer abandonment of MVPDs; devices (with a focus on digital); and platforms (with, again, an emphasis on digital), “viewers are now more likely to watch favorite shows on Netflix than on live TV.”
What, exactly, does this mean, and does it reflect any less viewing of broadcast TV than at any time in the recent past?
For the past five years, Hub has been tracking how consumers discover and watch new TV programming in its annual “Conquering Content” study. The just-released 2018 offers some incendiary takeaways many in broadcast TV will likely protest.
But, the key word to define in Hub’s research is “favorite.” Just because a TV show on an OTT platform is one’s favorite does not mean OTT is dominant over broadcast TV in terms of total hours of programming consumed.
That said, Hub’s study asked viewers to share the name of a favorite show they’ve started watching in the past year. Hub then asked how they watch it.
- 2017 was the first year that the number of viewers saying they watch their favorite show online was greater than the number who watch on a pay TV set-top box (live, DVR, and VOD combined).
- In 2018, the shift toward online has accelerated: a 12-point spread between online (56%) and pay TV set-top box (44%), vs. just 4 points last year.
When it comes to specific platforms, Hub’s study found Netflix emerging as the top source for watching favorite programs, overtaking live TV.
Some 32% of respondents say they use Netflix to watch the favorite show they shared with Hub; some 26% say they watch that favorite show on traditional live TV.
While the difference is negligible, Hub points to the five-year trend started in 2014 as proof Live TV is losing its caché with audiences.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Hub study discusses “the important role” that word-of-mouth and social media play in discovering shows watched online.
- For shows watched online, word of mouth/social media is the No. 1 way viewers say they found out about the show (35%). Fewer than one-in-three learned about the show through advertising (29%).
- For shows watched from the set-top box, advertising dominates as the way consumers found out (54%). By contrast, only 20% learned about shows they watch via the set-top box via word of mouth or social media.
“Whether or not Netflix’s massive investment in content makes financial sense for the company, it’s clearly been successful in one respect,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. “The platform has managed to become more of a home for favorite shows than all other linear networks combined.”
Hub’s study was conducted among 1,699 U.S. consumers with broadband, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week. The data was collected in October 2018.
But, just who are Hub’s biggest customers?
Principal Jon Giegengack and the Hub team work with “leading media and entertainment brands” — including Netflix.
Other clients include HBO, Comcast, Netflix, Time Warner, Sony, AMC and AT&T.
RBR+TVBR OBSERVATION: Sigh … here’s another “research” report that suggests Live TV has lost its edge to the Overblown Terror to Television (OTT) platform that has made Netflix a volatile $300 per share Wall Street darling and has led to many a painful conversation at Apple about how to dive into an ever-crowded marketplace with subscription offering after subscription offering. Remember “Graves” on Epix? Of course not — it is a niche OTT service tied to a channel that isn’t on Comcast, and who wants to pay for that on top of Netflix, and Amazon Prime, and Hulu, and … ? Look, our “favorite” shows here at the RBR+TVBR Taquería and Paleta Patio are exclusively on Netflix. But we still watch live TV and local TV … and lots of it. From sports to news updates from the Conejo Valley of Southern California, our consumption this week has been enormous — taking us away from our favorite shows over on Netflix. So, let’s get this straight: A report from a company that counts Netflix among its clients says Netflix is home to America’s “fave shows.” That’s like Coca-Cola commissioning a study from a third-party that shows ZICO as the top brand of coconut water. This info is nice, but let’s have a Modelo, some Tacos al Pastor and get ready for some football. That ain’t on Netflix, Hubsters.