July 23, 2015

NEW STUDY: Decoding the Default

In a very short time, online TV sources have become more common than not: more than three-fourths of TV consumers watch online to some extent, and the average pay TV customer uses 2 or more online TV sources in addition to their MVPD subscription. So now that viewers have multiple options to choose from, which sources are emerging as the TV “default”—the first source they turn on when they want to watch TV?

The latest wave of Hub’s “Decoding the Default” study reveals important shifts in consumers’ go-to source for TV content. Among those who watch at least some online TV content…

  • Live TV is still the single most common default source. 34% say Live TV is the first thing they turn on when they want to watch—higher than any other platform.
  • However: that share is dropping significantly. In 2013, 50% of viewers named live TV as their default – 16 points higher than this year
  • Online sources now account for as much share-of viewing as live TV and DVR, combined. Across users of all TV platforms, viewers allocate 32% of their total TV viewing to live TV (down from 41% in 2013) and 15% to shows on their DVR (down from 21% in 2013).   Online platforms now account for 46% of all viewing time (up from 34% in 2013)
  • Among young viewers, online sources have replaced live shows as the “home base” for TV.
    • 40% of viewers age 16-24 use Netflix as their home base. Only 26% default to live TV.
    • Millennials (age 18-34) are equally likely to default to live TV (33%) and Netflix (31%)


About the research

“Decoding the Default” is a tracking study from Hub Research. The 2015 survey included 1,200 US TV viewers with broadband, ages 16 to 74. (Comparisons to 2013 findings are among viewers who watch at least some online content, age 18-54.) An excerpt of the report is available for free from Hub Entertainment Research. The data was released in July 2015.