Published on July 14th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson


Is live or on-demand your first viewing choice? Probably the latter, study says

When you turn on your TV, is your first choice live content or on-demand shows? It’s more likely time-shifted or on-demand content is your default choice with live viewing no longer being the go-to option, according to new data from one entertainment research company.

While the great majority – 76 percent – still subscribe to a cable or satellite service, only 39 percent of Americans start out their viewing with live TV from a pay TV service versus 48 percent who start with a time-shifted or on-demand option like Netflix, Hulu, or a DVR. The data from Hub Entertainment Research is a complete flip from a year ago when 47 percent watched live TV versus 41 percent who set out viewing delayed content.

Hub reports the average viewer now has 4.5 different video options to choose from – such as live, DVR, on-demand content, Netflix, Hulu, and more – an increase from 3.7 in 2014. 

The results found 50 percent of adults 18 to 34 years of age subscribe to two or more of the three most popular subscription services, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime TV, all available as apps on Apple TV. Just an important, the number of viewers subscribing to all three of those services more than doubled since 2017, to 14 percent from 6 percent.

The decrease in live viewing is happening across all age groups, the study found. While 56 percent of viewers 55 and older still start out with live TV, that’s a drop from 66 percent last year. 26 percent of young adults, age 18 to 34, start out with live TV, a drop from 35 percent last year in 2017.

The findings come from a study of 1,922 U.S. consumers, age 16 to 74, who watch at least one hour of television a week, and have a broadband connection at home.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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