The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Residential Pay-to-View Study results are out and they found that viewing is shifting across devices from where they were in its inaugural year. It seems that tablets are having an effect on premium video viewing but gaming consoles seem to get the longest sessions.


J.D. Power and Associates is extrapolating data based on a small survey they did back in April. With 4,097 households responding it means there’s a margin of error around 1.5% depending on the actual number of US households. I estimated around 121 million.

The 2012 U.S. Residential Pay-to-View Study is based on responses from 4,097 U.S. households that evaluated video service providers, including Amazon, Apple TV, Blockbuster/Blockbuster Express, Google TV, Hulu/Hulu Plus, Local Video Stores, Netflix and Redbox.

Portable Platforms Power up

Smart phones and tablets are not only becoming more prevalent in general but they’ve also got more pay-to-view video available on them through the numerous apps that have been published. The interesting thing is that J.D. Power and Associates have found that viewing on PC and Mac is actually down over last year which is most likely because the all the other platforms that the video is now available on.

Tablets are up to 18% this year, a full 11% more than the previous study. So almost one-in-five households now have a tablet in them that is being used to view paid video content. Meanwhile, mobile phone paid video viewers are at 16%, up just 2% over the previous year.

It seems like tablets are really becoming the main platform for video viewing with that massive jump, but that might be a premature conclusion. It also seems like they might be pulling video viewing away from desktop computers as 29% of video service customers watch paid content on a handheld device. Meanwhile, the desktop side of things saw a decline down to 39% from 48% last year.

So a 9% drop in PC viewing and an 11% increase in tablet viewing. It sure looks like the sands are shifting. Have you got that tablet app completed yet to push your content out to that audience?

Gaming Consoles Gear Up for Video

As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, gaming consoles are becoming a major factor in video viewing and now it seems they’re becoming a major platform for paid video content with 23% of respondents saying they used them for that purpose. That’s almost as high as the handheld devices 29%. The thing that surprised me was that viewers watched longest on the game consoles (6.3 hours per week). Desktops came in second with 5.3 hours/week, wireless phones got 4.9, music players 4.5 and finally tablets with just 4.4 hours.

So while one-in-five are watching on tablets, they’re not watching as long as gaming console users are.

The study stated that it was a convenience factor because of the big screen of the TV while smaller screens and battery life were affecting the viewing length on the handhelds. It makes sense since the console is usually connected to the largest display in the house and who would choose to watch video on a smaller screen when a larger is available?

Final Thoughts

Overall, there’s nothing all that surprising aside from the hourly breakdown. We knew that video was picking up on game consoles as tons of video apps have recently been made available on the Xbox 360 and Sony has its own entertainment network attached to its Playstation 3. Even the Nintendo Wii has a video channel though I don’t know that it’s anywhere near as popular as the other platforms.