How Digital Is Conquering Broadcast

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More than half (52%) of respondents to a new survey say that they now watch their favorite TV shows by way of a digital source. The other 48% use a set-top box for live TV, video-on-demand or a DVR. Last year just 40% of viewers watched their favorite shows on a digital stream, and in 2014 only 31% watched a digital stream.

Given a choice between Netflix and live TV, 31% say they would prefer to watch live TV, while 29% said they preferred Netflix. Four years ago that split was 45% for live TV to just 14% for Netflix.

The data were reported Friday morning by Hub Entertainment Research, which had conducted the survey online with 2,214 U.S. consumers between the ages of 16 and 74 who have broadband access and watch a minimum of five hours of TV a week.

Americans have adapted to an on-demand world, where a few dollars a month puts an entire world of entertainment at your fingertips to watch on your schedule, not some network programming executive’s.

That’s not altogether bad for traditional TV. According to the Hub survey, 57% of viewers said they had discovered a show online that they later watched on live TV. That total was up slightly year over year.

In a survey completed earlier this year by consulting firm Accenture, just 23% of the 26,000 global internet users surveyed preferred to watch live TV shows, down from 52% in 2016. More than half (55%) of respondents favored digital viewing on a laptop, desktop or mobile device compared with 42% who favored live TV.