Shift From Live Linear TV

Younger viewers especially get much of their live video from online sources. Pay TV customers need to shift their offerings to stay relevant. The rate that people turn away from traditional live linear channel viewing is increasing, finds a report from Parks Associates. From 2014 to 2015, live linear viewing declined by 3 percent. But from 2015 to 2016 it declined by 6 percent. Looking at broadband-enabled U.S. households, Parks finds that 60 percent of TV viewing is on-demand, non-linear programming. Among viewers age 18 to 34, just over a quarter of TV viewing is live programming.

After considering all variables, Parks finds age is the demographic that correlates best with linear TV viewing. Because young people will keep the habits they’ve grown up with, Parks senior analyst Brett Sappington says pay TV companies need to adjust their offerings to meet the preferences of these viewers.

“The industry, and advertisers, continue to ask whether the model of linear TV viewing is broken beyond repair or if young consumers will someday adopt linear TV channels. The answer appears to be that viewers retain the habits that they have grown accustomed to over time,” Sappington says. “So, older consumers remain avid live, linear TV viewers, but young viewers are turning to on-demand consumption across connected platforms.”

Viewers who don’t have a pay TV subscription still watch live video, getting about one-third of their live video from online sources. Pay TV subscribers, on the other hand, say they get three-quarters of their live video through their pay TV service.