Forecast: Half of Americans to Stream TV in 2016

According to eMarketer's latest forecast of digital video consumption, 2016 will be the first time more than half of the U.S. population will ...

Cord Cutting Bites into TV Ad Spending
Cord Cutting Bites into TV Ad Spending
According to eMarketer's latest forecast of digital video consumption, 2016 will be the first time more than half of the U.S. population will watch TV shows online at least once a month, including streaming video. In 2016, 164.5 million Americans are expected to watch online video - 50.8% of the U.S. population, up from 47.8% last year.

Despite strong growth in online video viewership, traditional TV still dominates. This year, 205.7 million U.S. adults are expected to watch TV through traditional channels, including cable and satellite providers, while 129.7 million adults are expected to watch online video. However, as online video viewership increases, that of traditional TV is expected to decrease. By 2018, 202.1 million U.S. adults are expected to watch traditional TV, compared to 138.8 million U.S. adults watching streaming TV.

"eMarketer's latest forecast of digital TV and movie viewership points to a growing embrace of over-the-top video, partly at the expense of traditional TV," wrote Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst. "This trend is driven by an expanding range of viewing devices, by favorable shifts in consumer behavior and by a flood of new content from streaming services. Netflix, Amazon and Hulu now compete elbow-to-elbow with TV networks and film studios for original programming."

Total online video consumption - including TV shows, movies, news and ads - is expected to continue to rise. By 2017, more than two-thirds of Americans are expected to watch online video at least once a month. Millennials (those born between 1981 and 2000) are the biggest consumers of digital video. This year, 93.7% of millennial Internet users are expected to watch streaming video, with that figure climbing to 94.1% by 2019. Some 96.5% of Internet users between 18 and 24 are expected to watch streaming video this year - reaching a near-saturation point.

"Younger millennials who came of age in the YouTube era see digital video as a pervasive activity that cuts across genres and screens," wrote Verna. "They're among the heaviest users of smartphones and tablets, and they routinely use those devices - along with laptops and connected TVs - to watch everything from how-to clips, gaming streams, humor videos and news blurbs to sports highlights, educational content, music clips and scripted dramas."

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