People are watching TV from 4.8 different sources, says Hub

The number of sources is even higher for people who are following strict quarantine guidelines during the pandemic. (Getty Images)

According to Hub Entertainment Research, people are watching TV from more sources than ever before during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hub conducted a study that found the average number of television sources being used by consumers in April 2020 was 4.8. These sources included everything from traditional pay TV, to streaming platforms, to over-the-air with antennas. 

Respondents to the study must have watched at least 1 hour of TV per week and had to have broadband access at home.

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The 4.8 sources compares to 3.7 sources in 2019, when Hub conducted a similar study and 3.0 sources in 2018, said Jon Giegengack, principal with Hub Entertainment Research on FierceVideo’s recent StreamTV Summer Research Summit.

Hub Research chart 1

The number of sources is even higher for people who are following strict quarantine guidelines during the pandemic. Those people were using 5.3 sources in April. And people with kids at home were using 7 sources. 

Hub Research Chart 2

Most viewers are using a combination of pay TV and traditional TV platforms. “This idea that people are deserting traditional TV is not accurate,” said Giegengack. “According to our research, people who use four or more sources are most satisfied.” 

People have been watching more streaming video because of stay-at-home orders, but this may subside in the second half of the year, especially if a recession causes them to tighten their budgets.

RELATED: Industry Voices—Giegengack: Peak streaming and the battle for disposable time

However, Hub found that watching streaming video may actually be considered “an austerity measure” by some consumers who are feeling financial pressure. “Streaming might be more resilient in the face of a recession,” said Giegengack, adding that watching television might be a more affordable entertainment experience than other things. “An SVOD with a relatively low subscription fee and a big library might be a way to make that austerity more manageable and more fun,” he said.

Hub also found that interest in trying new streaming services was actually higher among people who had lost income or lost their jobs.

Smart TVs

With people using so many different platforms it becomes important for them to have an efficient way to manage it all, and that has highlighted the importance of smart TVS. 

“Smart TVs are getting more important in how content gets selected,” Giegengack said. Hub’s research found that in 2018, 5% of viewers watched their video on a smart TV. But that had risen to 12% of viewers in 2019. Hub is getting ready to field this same study again, soon, and it expects that the number of people watching on smart TVs will be even higher.

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