Social media and second screen apps may be fighting a losing battle to preserve live TV viewing. New data from TiVo shows consumer preference for control and convenience trumps their desire to watch a program live.

More than 60 percent of the viewing on web-connected TiVo units is now delayed television or on-demand video via broadband (OTT), leaving only 38 percent of viewing time spent with live programming.

The numbers are even more striking for TiVo subscribers who also use Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus and other comparitively new sources of content. Live viewership in those households had dropped to 27 percent, despite industry efforts to preserve what’s known as appointment viewing.

“The trend here is obvious. For most of their video, these consumers prefer to watch on-demand, whether it’s recorded off the air, cable, satellite, or delivered via broadband,” said Tara Maitra, senior vice president and general manager of content and media sales for TiVo. “It really has become all about whatever they want to watch, whenever they want to watch it.”

TiVo president and chief executive officer Tom Rogers is fine with this, since TiVo can deliver traditional live TV, recordings from TV linear channels, operator video-on-demand, and broadband-delivered video. “As people watch less live TV, the television industry is being challenged like never before to meet the needs of viewers,” he said. “The reduction in time spent watching live TV has huge implications for commercial ad delivery, how consumers search and find programs, and the role of networks in the carriage of shows, all of which require the industry’s increased focus.”

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Photo by Flickr user pheaber/ Paul Heaberlin, used under Creative Commons license


  1. It was just a matter of time. As DVR technology became ubiquitous, fewer people are compelled to watch events as they air. They could be doing something else, there could be another show on at that time or any number of other reasons people find it preferable to watch their shows at a later point in time. Personally, I work nights at DISH and I am rarely home during Primetime programming. Coinciding with TiVos data is a new product from DISH called the Hopper. It is a DVR with 2 terabytes of storage space. The Hopper includes new feature called Primetime Anytime. It records the primetime content of NBC, CBS, FOX and ABC and stores it up to 8 days. This means that the shows I miss will be available immediately when I get home from work and remain available for 8 days. I would liken it to Hulu in that it lets you catch up on your terms and there isn’t any hassle setting up DVR timers for those programs. As people move away from being chained to must watch TV, products and features like this will be come more and more popular.