A Panel Examination of Over-the-Top Audience


The new reality for consumers is they not only have access to more content than ever before, but they can also select the content they want, when they want, and watch in the device they want. One such device that has become increasingly popular for media consumption is Over-the-Top (OTT) media players. These are devices that deliver video content via the internet to television sets. Today, there exists an ever-growing number of various OTT devices from Roku players, the Apple TV, the Amazon Fire TV box, Chromecast, and game consoles. However, with this increased availability of choice comes the growing fragmentation of consumer time and attention. This leaves advertisers with the complex task of breaking through the clutter of advertisements and finding a way to reach the OTT device-specific audience. However, reaching an audience behind an OTT device requires a thorough understanding of the viewers. To date, there has been no study examining the differences between various types of OTT device owners and their viewing behaviors.In this study, using Nielsen’s National People Meter (NPM) Panel data, we investigate individual and household differences (both demographic and behavioral) among viewers of content consumed via different OTT devices. The NPM panel is sampled using an area-probability frame and recruited in-person by professional field representatives. The panel consists of more than 20,000 US homes wherein TV viewing is captured via a meter that records the timing and content information for all members in the household. Initial results suggest that households with different types of OTT devices are significantly different from one another across a broad array of characteristics. Results from a multivariate model revealed that Apple OTT device owners tend to be younger, more male, have larger households, but fewer kids. They are less likely to be minorities and, interestingly, more likely to own other Apple devices/gadgets. The nature of the content (i.e. genre) viewed was also different across these OTT devices. The study findings will contribute to the overall body of research that describes the viewership of media content on OTT devices and enhance our understanding of the population of viewers behind these devices. We describe the findings from this study and suggest avenues for future research.

Recommended Citation:

Ion, C., Yildiz, K., Chen, S.-H., & Rao, K. (2016). Who’s Watching? A Panel Examination of Over-the-Top Audience. Paper presented at the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research, Chicago, IL.

Attached Documents:

  • MAPOR 2016 Program (see page #35 for the mention)
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