Adults over 50 are the fastest growing demo for online video: analyst

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It’s possible that older demographics drawn to TV will warm up to OTT as more services like DirecTV Now, which recreates a more traditional linear watching experience, come to market.

Online video consumption tends to be attributed to younger audiences, but one analyst sees it differently.

Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar said in a recent report that viewers in older age demographics overindexed to TV are starting to gravitate toward OTT services.

“Because of the relative ease of access, those who watch the most TV, adults 50+, are now also the fastest growing demographic in terms of online video consumption,” wrote Venkateshwar. “This demographic accounts for a third of the total population but half of all TV viewing. This could result in bigger shifts in consumption patterns in the coming quarters.”

Besides the shift in OTT viewership demographics, Venkateshwar expects overall OTT consumption to continue to rise, specifically pointing out that more than 54% of U.S. households have SVOD access and 31% of the population has two or more subscriptions.

“This factor, combined with growth in OTT platforms, connected TVs and deeper penetration of user interfaces agnostic to online and offline content is resulting in time spent watching OTT content starting to rival TV viewership,” wrote Venkateshwar. “Live streaming video is also becoming mainstream (36% have live streamed) and it is an option for the most popular TV programs (NFL, presidential debates, etc).”

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“We see the potential for new services slated to be launched in 2017 like Hulu, Amazon, Google, etc. having the possibility to be more disruptive relative to trend lines seen thus far,” he added.

It’s possible that older demographics drawn to TV will warm up to OTT as more services like DirecTV Now, which recreates a more traditional linear watching experience, come to market.

Jefferies analyst John Janedis said early data regarding DirecTV Now suggest the offering is performing in line with expectations but warned that cord-cutting trends may still hold back subscriber growth.

“With Hulu to follow later this quarter, the market continues to support the view that new entrants to the market will reverse the trend in sub losses to 0% from -1% as we exit the year,” wrote Janedis in a research note. “Given trends in cord cutting from younger demos, we don't think that's a foregone conclusion, though it won't become clearer until much later this year.”