Thursday, May 11, 2017, 11:50 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
comScore has taken the wraps off comScore OTT Intelligence, a new syndicated service that measures U.S. viewership of OTT content like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others on connected TVs. Subscribers to the comScore service access the data through a dashboard that includes household reach, audience size, demographics and other metrics.
The data is drawn from comScore’s Total Home Panel, which measures viewership in over 12,500 U.S. households with over 150,000 active devices per month.
The comScore service debuts as watching premium video on connected TVs has become a completely mainstream consumer behavior, chipping away at the traditional dominance of pay-TV and TV networks. Just 2 weeks ago, Leichtman Research Group revealed that 69% of U.S. TV households have at least one TV connected to the Internet, with three-quarters of these homes having more than one connected TV.
LRG said that 25% of adults watch video using a connected TV on a daily basis, up from just 1% in 2010. Further, 43% of adults age 18-34 watch video on a connected TV device daily. FreeWheel found that in Q4’16, 27% of ad views in premium video occurred on connected TVs, up from 8% in Q4 ’14.
Illustrating the shift to connected TV consumption, especially for long-form content, Netflix reported that at the end of March, 2017, it had nearly 50 million paid members. And according to MoffettNathanson, cord-cutting reached a new peak in Q1 ’17, with approximately 762K lost subscribers.
Clearly there’s ample evidence of the surging interest in using connected TVs for OTT content. And so understanding what Americans are actually watching and how they’re using their connected TVs is more critical than ever for everyone in the TV ecosystem.
Perhaps the most important behavior to analyze is how viewers are migrating from ad-supported video to ad-free video, as this directly affects advertisers who annually spend tens of billions of dollars to reach particular audiences via TV ads. Shrinking consumption of ad-supported content means further difficulty finding appropriate and sizable audiences for messages.
In fact, this was exactly the dynamic that drove YouTube to introduce a slate of ad-supported original shows at its Broadcast NewFront presentation last week. In an interview, Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer, said that big advertisers, concerned about the shift to ad-free viewing, had been asking YouTube to create long-form shows for a while. YouTube clearly believes it has spotted a market opportunity to create shows that serve advertisers’ interests with more inventory choices (whether consumers want more free ad-supported shows is an open question of course).
All of this means the comScore OTT Intelligence service comes along at a time when connected TV viewing is clearly becoming a staple across a huge swatch of U.S. homes. It is incumbent on any player in the TV industry who wants to keep pace with these changes to more closely understand what is actually happening in these living rooms and update their strategies accordingly.