Awash with streaming video? Survey says you're not alone

If it seems like almost everybody is streaming TV and movies, a new survey indicates the reason may be simply that many more people are -- and nearly all young people.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Joan E. Solsman
3 min read

A survey by Crackle, PlayStation and Magid found 83 percent of people are streaming in the home, and 90 percent of people under 35. Getty Images

Streaming video isn't everything to everyone, but it's quickly becoming normal for almost everybody, according to a new survey.

In the second year of a survey about streaming-video behavior in the US, 83 percent of respondents say they stream TV and movies at home, up from 74 percent last year. Nearly all "millennials" -- people aged between 18 and 34 -- are streaming at home: 90 percent.

Frequency of streaming is going up, too. The survey found 61 percent of people stream at home weekly, up from 44 percent in 2013. Among young people, the jump was greater: 72 percent of people under 35 years old report streaming weekly, 20 points higher than last year.

Crackle and PlayStation, both part of Sony, commissioned the survey of 1,200 people, which was conducted by research and consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates in July and released Wednesday. Crackle is a video-streaming site similar to Hulu, one that has TV, movies and original shows like "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" for free with ads, and the PlayStation range of gaming consoles are among the most common devices used to stream video from the Internet to a TV.


"This isn't early adopters or young people anymore," said Eric Berger, Sony Pictures Television executive vice president of Digital Networks and general manager of Crackle. "It really seems to be crossing over into mainstream."

The data affirm a shift to people watching and demanding more streaming video, a trend that is increasingly spurring traditional media companies willingness to put more content online, despite risks to how they've always made money. In the last month alone, both HBO and CBS said they would launch online-only streaming services, while online-video platform Netflix said it would stream a new sequel to the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" the same day it's released in theaters.

So far, the attraction to streaming is not at the expense of live television. When asked what options they consider after deciding to watch TV shows or movies in the evening, the same percentage of respondents -- 67 percent -- reported live programming as their most common consideration. But streaming was second at 45 percent, a slight increase. The format that suffered was DVR, dropping 7 points as a consideration for primetime video viewing.


People watching streaming video with others appeared to be on the rise as well. The survey found coviewing is occurring for people who stream to a TV nearly as often as people watching live TV. The survey found 63 percent of adults say someone else is watching with them most of the time or at least half of the time when streaming to a connected TV, while 70 percent say the same about live television.

"The perception is that digital is very personal thing, and that's historically how advertisers have thought about streaming: it's one person, one viewer," Berger said. He added that coviewing behavior is meaningful for advertisers and that as more data show trends like these, the $70 billion US TV advertising market will start to blend with digital advertising budgets, which are estimated at $3 billion to $4 billion.

While that may sound like more ads for you, the streaming viewer, it would also mean more choice: As the market for advertising with digital video grows more lucrative, more top content will make its way to your TV through a stream.