In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the generation of more over-the-top viewing among most Americans which has further encouraged the release of more live streaming and movies online, according to results of video-streaming specialist Roku’s annual survey.

The smart TV streaming technology ecosystem developer issued its latest survey last week, entitled “The Streaming Decade.” The findings show streaming use has reached a tipping point among Americans while painting a bullish forecast even after the pandemic crisis lifts.

According to the company’s blog on the study, “four in five U.S. consumers surveyed are TV streamers, and more than half of consumers say they’re going to watch as much TV as they did during the pandemic, even as restrictions loosen. Of those who say they will watch as much or more TV, one in two say it’s because they simply love TV.”

The study revealed the past year led to an acceleration of the shift to TV streaming aided by the COVID crisis, which led to the streaming industry’s response with enhanced content delivery offering greater ease-of-use, cost-savings, and improved content quality.

The survey was conducted online by NRG and commissioned by Roku, using a wide range of American consumers between July 24 and July 30, 2021. The survey covered 2,852 18-70 year olds in the U.S. who said they watch at least five hours of TV per week via traditional pay TV (i.e. cable, satellite, or telco service) or a streaming services.

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“Amid a year of uncertainty, this survey puts data behind what we at Roku have believed since our founding in 2002: all TV will be streamed,” stated Anthony Wood, Roku Founder and CEO. “These results show that TV streaming has passed a tipping point. Even more exciting, it’s bringing more people together, starting new conversations, and giving viewers of every generation more of the content they love, while also making it more accessible. TV streaming is here to stay.”

Among the key findings of the survey were the following:

  • One in four consumers is a cord cutter, and on average they pay less than half of what traditional pay TV viewers do: $49 versus $121.
  • Cord cutters spend on average three more hours per week streaming than traditional pay TV viewers spend watching: 22 hours versus 19 hours.
  • People are three times more likely to choose TV streaming over traditional pay TV when they want to watch something everyone is talking about: 66% of people chose TV streaming versus 22% who said they would turn to traditional pay TV (cable/satellite/telco).
  • Fifty four percent of Boomers chose TV streaming versus 25% of Boomers who said they would turn to traditional pay TV.
  • TV streaming is nearly universal among younger generations (98% of Gen Z and 95% of Millennials).
  • Seventy one percent of Boomers stream.
  • Nearly one in four Boomers cut the cord in the past year—and are just as likely as younger generations to be cord cutters (Gen Z = 25%; Boomers = 23%).
  • Fifty one percent of streaming Boomers added more streaming subscriptions in the past year.
  • Nine in 10 Boomers who stream say TV streaming devices are easy to use.

Among the most popular content sources are live sports events, which have become much easier to find via streaming services than in past years.

The study found 42% of Americans now watch sports via TV streaming versus 62% who watch via traditional pay TV. And importantly, both types of viewers are very satisfied with their experiences and are going to continue watching, Roku said.

“As even more people adopt TV streaming, they’re spending less money, getting access to more content, and staying current with the most popular shows and events of today (and tomorrow),” the Roku blog stated.

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By Greg Tarr

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