ARF: Out With TV Households, In With TV-Accessible Households

Family watching TV
(Image credit: ©KidStock/Blend Images LLC)

Given the changing way people are watching television programming, the Advertising Research Foundation is calling on the TV industry to stop using TV households as the basis for measurement of TV viewing and to start using TV-accessible households instead.

Advertising Research Foundation

(Image credit: ARF)

TV households have been defined as households with at least one TV set. TV-accessible households are homes with broadband access that consume TV programming on devices through streaming services and virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs).

According to the ARF’s latest Device and Account Sharing (DASH) study, about 5% of U.S. households don’t own a TV set. But about 80% of those households have broadband and stream TV programming (Among households headed by an 18-to-34 year old, 14% have not TV set, but 39% access TV only through streaming devices.)

“This trend towards devices also holds true for audiences that do have a television set in the household — across age and marital status demographics,” ARF chief research officer Paul Donato said. “Forty-one percent of consumers with television sets reported watching professionally produced programming on a device the previous day. These dynamics highlight the problems with cross-device measurement today. This finding in particular dilutes the ‘representativeness’ of ACR streams and makes calibration with a reference standard like DASH essential for effective measurement.”

The ARF released some other interesting findings from the latest DASH study.

The DASH study found that major-brand TVs were more likely to show up in the living room, media room or den of a home, while less-expensive TVs were more likely to be placed in a bedroom. TV sets in the living room, media room and den were more likely to be co-viewed, while sets in the bedroom are more likely to be watched by family members from specific generations.

The ARF notes that this is an important factor to be considered for people buying or selling ACR data.

The DASH study also found that the majority of homes with three or fewer subscription video services didn’t use ad-supported VOD platforms. But 69% of households with five or more SVOD services used at least one AVOD service as well.

According to the study, 32% of households cut back on premium streaming services, while 39% added subscriptions. Among homes with SVOD, Netflix remains a “core holding” to which most subscribe. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.