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Online video – is pay TV at risk? Who is watching the most?

Are we watching more online? What is it we are watching?


Millennials and males are spending most time watching online video, according to the fourth semi-annual “State of Online Video” research report released by digital content delivery tech supplier Limelight Networks.

Viewers prefer watching TV shows to other types of online content. Respondents ranked television shows as the top type of content they watch online, followed closely by original content/YouTube, and movies. Millennials prefer to watch TV shows and movies online, while people over 60 primarily watch original content/YouTube and news.
limelight-3While just over half of all consumers watched more than two hours of online video per week, 68 percent of Millennials do so. There is also a significant disparity by gender, with more than 58 percent of men watching more than 2 hours per week, compared to less than 45 percent of women.

From  a survey of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. more than three-quarters of us watch online video every week.

High prices continue to be the most important factor influencing whether consumers will cut the cord with cable or pay-TV providers, with 41 percent citing price increases as the primary reason they would abandon their subscription.


However, 24 percent of respondents said they would cut the cord when they could directly subscribe to the channels they want online. Access to sports and other live events is a significant concern for Millennial males, with 20 percent saying they would not cut the cord until more live content becomes available online, compared to just eight percent of the population as a whole.

“Consumers – in particular younger generations – are increasingly turning to online streaming to access video content,” said Michael Milligan, senior director at Limelight Networks. “As adoption continues on mobile devices, expectations are for high-quality video anywhere, any time, on any device.”

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limelight-networksAdditional key findings from the research include:

  • Americans are far more likely to pay for online streaming than British viewers: More than 68 percent of U.S. respondents subscribe to a video on demand service, with 34 percent subscribing to more than one service. Less than half (48 percent) of U.K. respondents subscribe to an online video service, with only 16 percent subscribing to multiple services. In the U.S. people are far more likely to use a streaming device with 72 percent doing so compared to 65 percent of the respondents in the U.K.
  • limelight-networks
  • Smartphones Continue to Grow in Popularity for Online Viewing: Although a computer or laptop remains the most common device for online video viewing, their use has been shrinking while smartphone usage continues to grow. For Millennials, smartphones are already the primary device for watching online video.
  • Consumers expect a high-quality online video experience and are frustrated with buffering: More than half of consumers think buffering is the most frustrating aspect of watching online video. Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) will stop watching a video after the second time it buffers, and 78 percent will stop if it buffers three times.


The “December 2016 State of Online Video” report is based on a survey of 1,779 consumers ranging in age, gender, and education, located in the United States and the United Kingdom. Click here to view the complete report.

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