Personal Tech

Adobe: U.S. Online TV Viewing Soars

Adobe: U.S. Online TV Viewing Soars
June 4, 2014 1:05PM

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As Adobe's report shows, online TV is becoming an amazingly fast transition. And it could set the stage for the end of traditional TV because, at some point, folks will simply stop watching anything that isn’t on demand. The convenience, greater variety of online content, and the ease in which people can do this is driving this trend as reported by Adobe.

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For years, industry watchers predicted the rise of Internet television. That age has arrived and consumption is increasing rapidly. So says Adobe’s Q1 2014 Video Benchmark Report.

The report analyzes online TV -- which Adobe also calls TV Everywhere -- and non-authenticated online video trends. Among other things, the Adobe Digital Index report shows that online TV consumption across all devices grew at 246 percent year-over-year -- excluding the Sochi Olympics -- and a new record was set in March 2014.

"More than one fifth of all pay-TV households in the U.S. now watch TV online across screens," said Jeremy Helfand, vice president of Adobe's Primetime group. "With rapidly rising consumer expectations for TV across devices, the TV industry is moving through a rapid transformation and finding new ways to bring TV to whatever screen audiences want to watch."

iOS Rules Here, Too

According to Adobe, the strongest market share growth was in the game consoles and over-the-top (OTT) devices category, which posted a 539 percent increase. There was a first in the realm of mobile operating systems, where iOS apps surpassed browsers as the most popular access points for TV Everywhere. Eighty percent of children's content was viewed on iOS apps while browsers drove 50 percent of news-focused videos.

iOS app content ended the study period with a 43 percent market share, overtaking browsers with a 36 percent share. A year ago, browsers captured 47 percent of that market. iOS apps drove 9.2 video streams on average per visitor each month and Android apps came in second with 9.6 streams.

Overall, 95 TV channels now power more than 160 TV Everywhere sites and apps in the U.S., 30 more channels than six months ago. Game consoles and OTT devices drove 7.2 streams while browsers had the lowest number with 5.5 streams per visitor.

The End of Traditional TV?

Meanwhile, the number of unique TV Everywhere visitors to Web sites and apps per month increased by 157 percent year-over-year, while the number of TV Everywhere streams -- which Adobe characterizes as live, VOD (video on demand) and linear -- watched per visitor each month increased 133 percent year over year.

Adobe didn’t leave out user-generated content. The company tapped into a sample size of over 1,300 Adobe Marketing Cloud customers to discover 35.6 billion online videos including user-generated content were watched worldwide. That’s a new record and a 43 percent increase year-over year. Twenty-five percent of all online videos were consumed across smartphones and tablets, a 57 percent year-over-year increase.

We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, to get his take on the study. He told us online TV is becoming an amazingly fast transition.

“People are moving to use multiple screens, often at the same time, to view content,” he said. “I think it sets the foundation for the end of traditional TV because, at some point, folks will simply stop watching anything that isn’t on demand. The convenience, greater variety of online content, and the ease in which people can do this is driving this trend.”

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