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VOD and cable drives reverse in US TV viewing decline

TV viewership in the US is at a two-year high.

According to a new report from Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Sky-owner Comcast Cable, in Q1 2019, people spent an average of six hours and 25 minutes watching TV each day. This represents a year-over-year increase of 6% (21 minutes).

The report, the first of its kind from Comcast Spotlight, attributes this growth to an increase in cable network viewing and VOD viewership. Its findings are comprised of insights from over 17 million Comcast households across 65 US markets, and is based on approximately nine billion hours of viewing data captured during Q1.

Cable network viewing increased by 7%, making up two-thirds of total viewing. VOD viewing increased 36% year-over-year, with 79% of households watching some form of VOD during Q1.

While VOD is on the rise, it is still some way behind live programming. According to the report, households on average spent 53 minutes watching VOD compared to five hours and 32 minutes watching live programming.

The report also dives into the viewing fragmentation that has emerged as a result of divergent choices.

Comcast households saw 308 different ‘most watched’ networks (the network with the most viewing in a household). The average household watched 34 networks during Q1, and 68% of all viewing occurred outside of traditional primetime.

Andrea Zapata, VP, research & insights at Comcast Spotlight said: “People today have countless options when it comes to content, distribution and access, and that’s driven important viewing changes that marketers need to understand. We show advertisers how to augment their TV strategies with data-driven, content-agnostic planning, which often leads them in a new direction, to more networks and expanded dayparts.

“With the proper insights, advertisers can find audiences wherever and whenever they are watching and continue to drive phenomenal results.”