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People Who Watch More Alternative Video Watch Less Pay TV: Parks

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While much research has been devoted to the amount of subscription and transactional video people watch, less attention has been given to the rest of the video ecosystem—the short-form YouTube and Vimeo clips, or the events live streamed through a browser. Research company Parks Associates sheds light on the area, finding that broadband-enabled homes in the U.S. watch an average of two hours of "alternative content" through a computer each week. Popular sources include Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion. Roughly half watch user-generated video each month, and 10 percent stream live video.

While this type of video seems better suited for quick viewing on a computer, Parks says it's shifting to the living room. About half of households with an internet-connected TV use it to watch clips from YouTube and similar sites. In fact, notes Parks senior director of research Brett Sappington, more households watch video through an app for YouTube or similar platforms than watch video through an app for a  TV channel.

This alternative content could pose a challenge for paid services, as Parks sees an inverse correlation between user-generated content (UGC) viewing and paid content viewing: People who watch a lot of UGC are less likely to sign up for a paid service. Paid services are fighting back by adding content from popular online creators.

"Increasingly, traditional content producers and service providers are leveraging alternative content in order to connect with audiences and draw viewers," Sappington said. "Some are partnering with individual web celebrities and influencers who often have a disproportionately large influence on the user-generated side of the alternative content space."

This data comes from the Parks Associates report 360 Deep Dive: Alternative Content Consumption, available for purchase.

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