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 on July 23, 2014.