Four out of ten homes in the United States now have access to an online video subscription service like Netflix or Amazon Prime. Average viewing of live television fell by 13 minutes a day in the course of 2014, to an average of 4 hours and 50 minutes a day. Those aged 18-24 watch live television for an hour a day less than they did four years previously. Yet an international study suggests that television viewers have never had it so good.

The latest Total Audience Report published by Nielsen shows that 40.3% of homes in the United States have access to an online video subscription service. 27.8% have just one service, while nearly 9.9% have two and 2.6% have three or more. Netflix is in 36% of households in the United States. Amazon Prime is available in 13% of homes, while Hulu Plus is in 6.5%.

Adoption of online video subscription services is higher among those aged up to 45 and those with children. They tend to be more likely to have a high-definition display, a smart television, digital video recorder, game console, more than one computer, or a tablet.

Access to online video subscription services is related to income. 29% of homes with such a service have a household income of over $100,000 a year, compared to 19% for all television homes. The median income is $75,000, accounting for 48% of households with an online video subscription service, compared to a media income of just over $50,000 for television households in general.

Nearly one in four television homes do not have high-speed internet access. Only 9% of these have a household income above $75,000, while 68% earn less than $40,000 a year.

There are now 6.63 million homes in the United States that only receive broadcast television and have no broadband internet access, up from 5.60 million over the year. They comprise around 11% of homes, rising to 13-16% outside white households.

The number of American homes with broadband but no television rose from 1.29 million to 2.95 million in the course of 2014, which is about 3% of households.

A surprising number of those with ‘access’ to an online video subscription service may not be paying for it. A survey by TDG Research, covering over 1,700 Netflix users, found that nearly one in five access the service through an account of someone who does not reside in the same household.

Given that Netflix has 37.70 million paid ‘members’ in the United States, with accounts permitting between one and four simultaneous users, the level of leakage could be rather high.

Yet according to Nielsen data, watching video on the internet still only accounts for 1 hour 8 minutes a week of viewing across all individuals in the United States, rising to 1 hour 52 minutes among those aged 25-24.

Viewing of live television fell to 4 hours 51 minutes a day in the fourth quarter of 2014, down from 5 hours and 4 minutes the year before. Time-shifted viewing remained much the same at an average of 33 minutes a day.

Those aged 18-24 are watching significantly less live television than they did four years previously. Then they watched for just over 25 and a half hours a week, compared to just over 18 and a half hours a week in the same period in 2014. That is an hour a day less viewing, meaning they have cut their live television viewing by a quarter, although it is still 2 hours and 40 minutes a day.

An international study by Viacom, titled TV RE[DEFINED], suggests that viewers are redefining their relationship with television. Its survey of over 10,000 respondents in 14 countries found that 63% thought that television has never been this good. Conversely over a third presumably thought it used to be better.

The findings were presented at Cable Congress by Christian Kurz of Viacom International Media Networks.

“In a short span of time, content has become available anytime and anywhere, opening up endless opportunities for viewing,” he said. “Both rapidly and radically, we have seen TV redefined. In the midst of all this change, TV RE[DEFINED] shows that more television is being consumed now than ever before. What is needed is a redefinition of our understanding of television,” said Kurz.

The report suggests that “Viewers are consuming television in new ways — consumers have redefined TV to mean ‘content on their own terms’.”

Some might argue that only those in the industry talk about viewers ‘consuming content’. Most people seem to think about watching programmes, although the way they access them may be changing, as it has done over the decades.

The study found that over 70% of respondents considered television as the “go-to” source for programming and it remains the reference for the discovery and viewing of programmes.

A segment of viewers with access to multiple sources, claimed to represent 45% of global viewers, have “greater access to what they perceive as great content”.

“This has increased their engagement with TV and they are now watching more TV content in general. In fact, they are even watching more linear TV than they were a year ago.”

The Viacom report concludes that “TV Everywhere” should be called “TV Right Now”.

As informitv has long observed, from the point of the television or video viewer, it always here and now — wherever and whenever that is — rather than ‘anywhere’ or ‘anytime’. That is the nature of our perception and is fundamental to our relationship with television and video media, however they are viewed.

The Total Audience Report Q4 2104 is published by Nielsen. The Diffusion Group study is Benchmarking the Connected Consumer by TDG Research. TV RE[DEFINED] is from Viacom International Media Networks.