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73% Binge Watch, 99% of Young Adults Multitask While Viewing

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Americans are streaming a lot of TV, but how much of it are they really seeing? According to the 11th edition of the Deloitte Digital Democracy Survey, 73 percent of American consumers binge watch TV shows. Young adults are the strongest bingers, averaging six episodes and five hours per viewing session. They're not simply glued to the screen during that couch time: 99 percent of millennials and generation Z viewers are multitasking by texting, browsing, using social networks, reading emails, and shopping online. How they can follow the twists of complex streaming series is a mystery.

In the latest high water mark for streaming services, Deloitte finds that 49 percent of U.S. consumers subscribe to a paid OTT service, while 74 percent subscribe to pay TV. For younger adults, nearly 60 percent subscribe to a paid streaming service. However, viewers spend 40 percent of their time streaming from free services and 35 percent of their time streaming from paid services.

The hardware used for streaming video varies by age: Millennial and generation Z viewers spend roughly half their viewing time watching on something other than a TV. Generation X spends 60 percent of their viewing time with a TV and baby boomers spend over 80 percent.

The reason pay TV subscription rates are as high as they are is largely due to bundled offerings. Deloitte finds 66 percent of pay TV subscribers keep their service because it's bundled with internet and they'd pay more without it.

"This year’s survey confirmed U.S. consumers’ status as a binge watching, streaming, multitasking nation and we continue to see demand for content rise across all demographics," says Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and U.S. media and entertainment leader at Deloitte. "With 84 percent of Americans on social networks, social has become the channel of choice for the younger generation in particular for getting news, discovering new content, and, interestingly, 70 percent of millennials report they used social media to resolve customer service issues in 2016.”

Deloitte hired an independent researcher to survey 2,131 U.S. consumers in November 2016. Download a PDF of the full results for free (no registration required).

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