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vMVPDs Are on the Rise: ComScore Shows Use Growing for All Ages
Viewing habits are shifting as more households get live linear feeds from skinny bundles. The number of subscribers is low, but they're enthusiastic streamers.

While the number of households with vMVPD (virtual multichannel programming distributor) accounts is small, it's on the rise. Plus, it's on the rise in all age groups and customers tend to be OTT power-users.

According to data from research company ComScore, 5 percent of Wi-Fi-enabled U.S. households streamed pure-play vMVPD content in April 2018. Pure-play services are those without large on-demand digital video libraries, so it excludes YouTube and Hulu. The 5 percent number shows a year-over-year rise of 58 percent.

vMVPDs aren't only for the young. In April 2017, 29 percent of vMVPD households had a head-of-household between 18- and 34-years-old. By April 2018 that dropped to 21 percent. What's more, 23 percent of pure-play vMVPD households were led by someone 55 or older.

Households that subscribe to vMVPDs use them a lot. Pure-play vMVPD households streamed an average of 128 hours of video in April 2018. For all OTT households the average was only 54 hours.

"Given the competitive price points and low barriers to entry for consumers (no installation required), I anticipate that we will continue to see significant growth in virtual MVPDs in the years to come," wrote Susan Engleson, ComScore's senior director of emerging products, in a blog post.

Engleson predicts Hulu and YouTube's vMVPDs will each count over one million customers this year, and the whole area will have over seven million customers. That's roughly one-third of the number of households that have satellite service.

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