David vs. Goliath? Is Over-The-Top Challenging Traditional TV? A Case Study


Over the past few years, we have witnessed an expanding range of viewing devices and new content offerings by online streaming services (such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu) through over-the-top (OTT) devices. Nearly 20% of U.S. households own at least one OTT device, such as a Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV (Park Associates 2015). As these trends keep increasing, there have been debates on whether online streaming will replace traditional (or cable) TV in near future. Furthermore, questions have been raised around whether OTT viewing, via Apps, is cannibalizing or complementing network oriented TV viewing. Does multiple layers of ownership/access (ex: device, App, etc.) in OTT viewing play a role in their viewing/usage behavior to be different from traditional TV viewing? Does these two forms of TV viewership different in terms of types of programs watched, when they are watched, and how often they are watched? These are all questions of great importance to online publishers and advertisers, and, in general, to researchers working with large volume and variety of TV viewing data. Answering these questions is at the heart of this study and analysis.In this study, using Nielsen’s National People Meter (NPM) Panel data, we are able to answer these questions and provide valuable insights into the relationship between traditional TV and OTT TV viewing. 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. Preliminary results suggest that OTT TV viewership skews younger than traditional TV with clear differentiation across various viewership dimensions (such as content type, duration, etc.). Interestingly, distinct viewing patterns between the two were detected across weekdays and weekends, and for the time of the day. The findings from this study are of a potential interest to researchers and practitioners working to utilize the OTT platform in the most effective way for targeting and advertising. We discuss the findings from the study and conclude with recommendations for future research.

Recommended Citation:

Yildiz, K., Rao, K., Ion, C., Chen, S.-H., & Liu, M. (2016). David vs. Goliath? Is Over-The-Top Challenging Traditional TV? A Case Study. 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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