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Is Roku Right? Has TV Streaming Really 'Passed the Tipping Point'?

Family watching TV
(Image credit: FreePik)

According to Roku's latest The Streaming Decade report, streaming has “passed the tipping point,” with a solid majority of American consumers preferring the cache of streaming vs. traditional pay TV. 

According to Roku, which partnered with National Research Group to survey 2,852 adult U.S. consumers, all of whom watch at least five hours of TV per week, back in late July, 66% prefer streaming “when they want to watching something everyone is talking about,” vs. 22% for pay TV. (Note: This survey was conducted before FX debuted its exclusive Impeachment: American Crime Story.)

With one in four consumers having already cut the cord, Roku says this cache even applies to Boomers, 54% of whom quell their FOMO with streaming vs. 25% for pay TV. 

Roku

(Image credit: Roku)

Indeed, as Roku explains it, it’s not just the cool cats—everyone is streaming these days, including 71% of Baby Boomers. 

Roku

(Image credit: Roku)

"Over the last year, TV streaming was accelerated by the pandemic and the shift of more content, including live programming and new movie releases, from traditional pay TV to TV streaming," Roku says in its report. "Now, TV streaming is here to stay: even Boomers find it easy, it has the best content, and it offers the best value. As a growing number of cord-nevers rise to adult age and streaming has replaced the social currency primetime TV watching used to provide, streaming will continue to gain audience share."

According to Roku, four out of five U.S. consumers are "streamers." And even sacred pay TV bastions like news and sports are being over-run by the habit, with the percentage of respondents now preferring to watch sports via streaming reaching 42%.

Roku's message, however, seems to be in some conflict with recent revealing data published by Nielsen, which said that video streaming only account for 28% of overall U.S. TV consumption in July. 

The cache might be there for streaming. But Roku's "tipping point" assertion can certainly have its tires kicked. 

Nielsen's 'The Gauge'

(Image credit: Nielsen)
Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.