Online media, TV streaming rises 388 percent yearly: report

Consumers are turning to online television services in their droves — but what does this mean for cable providers and traditional outlets?

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New research suggests that the days of traditional television are waning due to a 388 percent rise in online media streaming year-on-year. 

A new report released by Adobe on Tuesday, the Video Benchmark Report (.PDF), suggests that more consumers than ever are turning to web-based media outlets in order to watch television, rather than relying upon traditional cable providers. After examining data from over 1,300 media and entertainment outlets, the tech giant found that while television consumption increased by 388 percent year-over-year, programmers also recorded an increase of unique monthly viewers by 146 percent YoY across browsers and TV apps.

The report uses data from outlets using Adobe Marketing Cloud and Adobe Primetime, as well as 165 billion total online video starts and 1.53 billion TV Everywhere authentications across 250 pay-TV service providers covering 99 percent of pay-TV households in the US. In addition, aggregated data gleaned from TV Everywhere content from 105 TV channels and more than 300 TV apps and sites was included. The report states:

While online TV consumption remains fragmented across platforms, gaming consoles and over-the-top (OTT) devices gained the largest percentage of market share and Android apps surpassed desktop browsers as access points for watching TV online.

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The tech giant says that the increase in online television content consumption can be placed at the feet of major sports events. However, watching movies is becoming more popular as time goes on, and now an average user will view 4.5 movies per month, an increase from two movies per month last year. Broadcast and cable networks also saw an increase of 81 percent YoY for television episodes watched each month.

Adobe says that for the first time on record, smartphones are being used more often than tablets to watch online television content. However, game consoles and over-the-top devices (OTT) experienced the largest surge in share growth, rising 127 percent year-on-year.

Jeremy Helfand, vice president of Primetime at Adobe commented:

Consumers' content consumption habits are changing rapidly. Viewers expect seamless, more personalized viewing experiences across an ever-increasing number of devices, and broadcasters, media companies and advertisers must transform their digital strategies to optimize the viewing experience.

Broadcasters and content providers face an increasingly complex issue in how modern consumers expect content to be delivered — and how future business plans must cater for evolving demand. The web has connected people globally, and so if a viewer's favorite television show is released in the US before the UK or Australia, for example, it is very easy to download a copy illegally rather than waiting — which in turn impacts content provider watching figures and potentially strips the firms of sponsorship and advertising profit. As online media rises in popularity, content and contracts can no longer be agreed upon based on local, traditional services — instead, digital delivery must also be implemented.

Read on: In the enterprise

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