Filmed in 1985 Back to the Future, there’s a line in one of the scenes that takes place in 1955 where Marty McFly tells his grandmother that his family has two TVs. As he’s referring to his life in 1985, his grandmother quickly dismisses him, saying that “nobody has two television sets.”
Multi-set households have become the norm in 2022. Only 19% American households have only one television. Regardless of prevalence within the household, the TV remains a media mainstay, complementing the growing array of other devices that consumers use to access whatever content they choose—and on their schedules. Freed from a physical dial’s worth of content (another 1955 reference), today’s TVs have all the flexibility in the world when it comes to content, and American households are consistently evolving how they use their TV sets, and that usage varies from room to room.
The current average TV in a U.S. house is now 2.3. And much like back in 1955, almost half of the TVs in U.S. homes today (44%) don’t rely on cable or satellite boxes for content (i.e., cord cutters). Many households choose to mix and match different content choices due to the wide range of options available. In that way, it’s not unusual for a TV set in one room to access content via broadband connection while a TV in a different room accesses programming through a cable or satellite service. About 51% use secondary bedrooms for streaming.
The proliferation of devices and platforms has implications when we look at media consumption from room to room—and from household member to household member. Advertisers and agencies can use personalized TV viewing and increased consumption to gain the insights they require in order to create meaningful interactions with their end customers at the point-of-consumption.
SVOD draws a lot of people
The living room is still the center of media for any household. It accounts for 58% of all TV viewing (compared to 28% for persons aged 2 or older).
What’s interesting, however, is that the living room isn’t always the co-viewing hub you’d expect, as 55% of content being viewed involves just a single viewer. Single-person viewing of cable or syndicated programs is much higher in the living room. When consumers engage with subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), content, co-viewing becomes dominant in the living-room.
ConThe home is a hub for nected devices.
Smart TV ownership is increasing as connectivity and content access permeates American homes. This has been aided by relatively affordable television sets and the availability of internet-connected devices (i.e. Streaming sticks are increasingly popular. As the hub for TV, the living space has the most access to new technology. The living room houses nearly half the smart TVs in use, 44% all game consoles are connected to the Internet, and 40% have internet-connected devices. The distribution (44%) of internet-connected devices between primary and second bedrooms is greater than in the living room, which highlights the importance of television connected use throughout the house.
That connectivity throughout the house is directly linked to the way younger consumers use the TVs that aren’t in the living room. For example, in secondary bedrooms 51% of users use the internet to access content. This percentage drops to 47% in basements. Traditional television programming makes up 68% in primary bedrooms. It accounts for 88% among those 65 years and over.
In 1955 TV was still very common. The TV was only scheduled and limited to just a few channels. It attracted only one set of viewers. Now “in the future,” usage couldn’t be more varied; specifically how audiences are using their TVs, and where within the house.