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Young Americans are Viewing Less Live TV


eMarketer reports that traditional television broadcasters in the U.S. must respond to a growing trend. As TV program time-shifting and online over-the-top (OTT) video viewing have both increased in importance, there's been a corresponding decrease in interest with "live" broadcast TV.

Furthermore, the TV set isn't the focal point that it used to be in America. According to a report from market researcher Morpace, nearly three in five U.S. consumers watch at least some video on a device other than a television.

Morpace found that today only 52 percent of the total TV viewing time consisted of watching live TV. However, among younger adults ages 18 to 34, that proportion fell further to 41 percent.

Adults 55 and older watched live TV almost two-thirds of the time. But, Gen Xers and younger American baby-boomers were evenly split between live TV and several time-shifting methods.

Online OTT was the most popular alternative to live TV, with about half of consumers using some online source for viewing video content, and a further 23 percent using a streaming video service -- such as the one offered by Netflix.

Adults ages 18 to 34 were more likely to use either online video format than older consumers -- though their consumption of video from DVDs or DVRs was somewhat similar.

Moreover, a February 2010 study by Retrevo found adults under 25 were heavily involved in online video viewing, with 29 percent saying they watched all or most of their TV on the web.

eMarketer now estimates that about 85 percent of 18-to-34-year-old internet users watch online video at least once a month, but that includes both long-form professional content like television shows as well as short user-generated clips.

Among older internet users, usage penetration is much lower -- fewer than 44 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds and fewer than 26 percent of seniors 65 and older watch online video monthly.

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