The Rich Still Watching Traditional TV

Affluent Americans are highly engaged with traditional television but their digital media consumption is increasing significantly, according to a 2014 affluent survey conducted by global research company Ipsos.

More than 90% of Affluents -- defined in the survey as the 23% of U.S. households with at least $100,000 in yearly household income -- watched video on traditional television screens over as 7 day period, according to the report. In addition, 44% watched video on a computer, with both figures virtually unchanged from last year.

Nearly half of all Affluents have a TV connected to the Internet, 23% own a smart TV, and 23% have a TV connected to a digital media receiver or streaming device – all of which are up significantly from 2013, according to the survey.

Wealthy Americans also watch 16 hours of traditional broadcast or cable television a week – virtually matching last year’s figures – and tune into an average of more than 15 cable channels a week.  

While affluent Americans are still enjoying traditional television viewing, they are also increasingly turning to digital media for their entertainment. Video viewing on tablets increased to 25% in 2014 compared to 22% last year, while smartphone viewing increased to 31% from 28% in 2013, according to the survey.

Overall, 67% of Affluents now own a smartphone, up from 45% in 2011 and 48% own a tablet, up from a meager 9% in 2011.

Affluents are also big internet users, averaging 42.9 hours of online use weekly. Facebook is the most popular social media network, with Affluents spending more than 6 hours weekly on the site, followed by Instagram with less than five hours a week, according to the survey.

“Digital media use continues to grow, and traditional media use has changed much less than many people expected,” says Steven Krus, chief Insights Officer for Ipsos. “Consumption of new media is supplementing, not supplanting, traditional media use – and the result is a net increase in Affluents’ overall engagement with media.”

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.