More U.S. consumers are now streaming their TV programs and movies than watching them via traditional pay-TV services, like cable and satellite TV, according to a Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of TransUnion.

The survey, conducted from more than 1,800 U.S. TV viewers between mid-November and mid-December 2021, found that 70% now watch TV via streaming services, topped by the 18-54 age segment, which accounted for 82% of those asked.

TransUnion is a global information and insights gathering company that uses its “TruAudience” solutions for precise, scalable identity and audience targeting metrics measuring consumer engagement across offline, digital and streaming environments.

TransUnion said the majority of those surveyed for the Harris Poll said they prefer streaming entertainment for relaxation and content discovery, while using traditional linear TV mostly for news viewing, running in the background.

Streaming was preferred by respondents for high-engagement viewing occasions, like viewing favorite shows or shows that help them “lose themselves in a program.”

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According to the data, 45% of TV viewers now have three or more streaming-capable TVs at home, nearly two in five (38%) have more than one brand of smart TV in their home, and over half of streaming viewers (55%) watched more than five streaming channels in the past month.

Streamers also find found advertising served on streaming platforms to be more engaging that ads viewed on cable and satellite TV channels, with the 18-54-year-old segment saying the paid more attention to streaming ads (43%) than traditional cable/satellite ads (23%).

Some 59% of respondents said streaming TV commercials were more relevant to them than commercials on cable/satellite TV, and 47% said streaming ads were more engaging/interactive compared to cable/satellite (28%).

“Consumers are telling us how they want to watch TV, and that is increasingly on streaming services. It’s now up to our industry to deliver the seamless, engaging TV ad experiences streaming enables,” said David Wiesenfeld, TransUnion lead strategist, media and entertainment vertical. “It starts with being able to recognize consumers across platforms and devices. That will require advertisers, media companies and ad tech platforms to evolve toward an identity infrastructure for TV that serves the needs of all constituents.”

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By Greg Tarr

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