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NPD: About 75% of SVOD Subscribers Will Continue Using

19 Dec, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Nearly 75% of consumers who subscribe to a video-on-demand service such as Netflix said they will “definitely” continue using the platform, despite the existence of alternative video sources, according to a report from The NPD Group. Another 19% said they would “probably” continue using SVOD.

In its monthly (November) entertainment outlook, NPD (based on a survey) analyzed the increased attention on SVOD in relation to free VOD sites such as Hulu and network websites featuring time-shifted episodic television. It found that 57% of users accessing free VOD sites would continue to do so compared with 27% who indicated they would “probably” do so.

By comparison, 39% of consumers accessing content via transactional VOD said they would “definitely” continue doing so, while 38% said they “probably” would. Internet-based transactional VOD (iTunes, etc.) found a 45% return rate compared with 32% “probably” using the platform again.

The Port Washington, N.Y.-based research firm found that while SVOD garners the bulk of media attention, the number of people using ad-supported VOD sites is nearly the same. Roughly 10% to 12% of U.S. TV watchers say they've watched TV via free streaming during the past three months, compared with about 14% who watched a TV show via SVOD.

Hulu, which is co-owned by The Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and NBC Universal, generated 46% of the ad-supported VOD streams, compared with 32% among network sites and 9% among cable sites. Another 13% of free VOD streams came from alternative sources.

Indeed, 66% of Hulu users surveyed said they would continue using the service — a percentage that is 10% points higher than any broadcast or cable website.

Network sites included CBS.com, ABC.com, Fox.com, NBC.com and CWTV.com. Cable sites included ABCFamily.com, MTV.com, Nick.com and ComedyCentral.com.

Network websites generate most of their streaming traffic on just a few select TV shows. For example, CBS generates most of its streaming traffic around past episodes of “Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS,” according to NPD.

Interestingly, "The Daily Show with John Stewart" and "The Office" get more views on Hulu than their respective network-owned sites, while CBS’ aforementioned hits don’t rank among the Top 20 on Hulu.

“This disparity could reflect different behaviors among age groups,” Mark Kirstein, president of entertainment with The NPD Group, wrote in a blog post. “Considering the trade-offs between a TV program's performance on a network's ‘native’ site and through aggregators, such as Hulu, is a theme to watch moving forward.”

Fox.com rated the lowest among users, which NPD attributed to the cabler’s decision to window access to current TV episodes at least eight days after their initial broadcast.

“This response speaks to the often-controversial question of whether the audience detects shows that are windowed,” Kirstein wrote.

Regardless, 40% of consumers who access content via ad-supported VOD sites, also subscribe to Netflix.

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