The trend to cut the tether between the TV and liv­ing room couch and take tele­vi­sion broad­cast­ing every­where con­tin­ues to gain trac­tion among consumers.

Adobe Dig­i­tal Index’s lat­est U.S. Dig­i­tal Video Bench­mark Report (PDF) revealed an enor­mous shift in the way view­ers are con­sum­ing TV-based con­tent. The ADI study dis­cov­ered that Q1 year-over-year growth for TV Every­where (TV-E) con­sump­tion, as mea­sured via authen­ti­cated video starts, was up a stag­ger­ing 246%.

To put this in a dif­fer­ent light, of those house­holds in North Amer­ica that have a pay-TV sub­scrip­tion, the share that stream tele­vi­sion via TV-E is up 31% over the past six months to 21%, and it looks like this growth is gain­ing momentum.


So what exactly is dri­ving this shift in view­ing behav­ior? The two main fac­tors that appear to be push­ing peo­ple to log in and view have to do with “wher­ever” and “whenever.”

Wher­ever” seems to be dri­ven by sport­ing events. We all know the feel­ing of being stuck at work or some­where other than the liv­ing room while our favorite team is play­ing game seven of a cham­pi­onship round. You try hard to resist Face­book or Twit­ter, avoid­ing any chance for spoil­ers because you’ve recorded the game on your DVR set. Then that one per­son says, “Hey, did you see that play!? I can’t believe we won/lost.” So much for the ele­ment of sur­prise. It’s lit­tle won­der why around-the-clock sport­ing events, such as the World Cup, Tour de France, Wim­ble­donOlympics, and NCAA March Mad­ness, are dri­ving TV view­ers to watch con­tent out­side of their homes.

What does this mean for mar­keters and con­tent pro­duc­ers? We dis­cov­ered that 48% of video authen­ti­ca­tions occurred through an app, whereas 36% occurred through a browser and 6% occurred through a gam­ing con­sole or over-the-top (OTT) device. Our data also told us that the major­ity of TV-E view­ers are watch­ing con­tent on either their smart­phones or tablets. Given that view­ers are stream­ing con­tent via a car­rier con­nec­tion or Wi-Fi, and given that sim­i­lar demo­graph­ics view sim­i­lar con­tent, mar­keters have the oppor­tu­nity to tar­get their ads based on the loca­tion of these view­ers and over­lay these ads with the type of media being watched. To wit, this mobile video form of con­tent con­sump­tion adds another layer of cal­i­bra­tion to get the right prod­ucts in front of the right people.


The “when­ever” that seems to be push­ing peo­ple to log in and view video con­tent is being dri­ven by a new seg­ment of behav­ior known as “binge watch­ing,” dur­ing which view­ers watch hours of episodic mate­r­ial at one time. The data shows the aver­age authen­ti­cated video start per user was up a remark­able 133% year-over-year for Q1. Yes, that’s a lot of content!


Wal­ter White, of “Break­ing Bad,” and Frank Under­wood, of “House Of Cards,”  would be proud, and, no doubt, so are the pro­duc­ers who funded these pro­duc­tions. Beyond many more view­ers watch­ing more con­tent, the data sur­round­ing these shows is where the real pay­off comes in. In his keynote address at last year’s EITF event, Kevin Spacey (who plays Under­wood) dis­cussed the ben­e­fits of data and cred­ited Net­flix for using viewer behav­ior data to pre­dict the suc­cess of his show.

Oth­ers in the indus­try should fol­low suit and imple­ment a data-driven busi­ness model to fig­ure out what peo­ple want to view. Bot­tom line: The future of TV is here. Per­haps Spacey put it best in his speech: “Give peo­ple what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, and at a rea­son­able price.”

This post was pre­vi­ously pub­lished on CMO​.com on July 23, 2014.