NPD: People Like Free TV Streaming
The company's latest report shows that more viewers are turning to free entertainment options.
February 05, 2013 by Rachel Cericola

News flash: People like it when things are free. So it should be no surprise that the NPD Group says that people are warming up to free online TV streaming.

According to the firm’s “Free Streaming TV” report, 12 percent of U.S. TV watchers checked out free streaming TV shows, while 14 percent watched a TV show via a subscription-based streaming VOD.

Most broadcast and cable TV networks offer some type of free streaming. However, most web-based viewers are turning to Hulu for that fix—the free web-based one. NPD says that 43 percent of total 2012 streams came from Hulu, with another 30 percent split between the major networks. Sites for ABC Family, Comedy Central, MTV and A&E TV rounded out the top 10.

Most people seem pretty happy with that option. After all, it is free. That said, about 75 percent of NPD’s test group says that they would return to their site of choice in the future. Hulu, in particular, scored high marks. Fox was the lowest rated service, mainly because the network delays the availability of its programming.

“Over half of the viewers for streaming TV are between the ages of 18 and 34, so the YouTube generation is evolving from short-form and user-generated content to TV shows and, like YouTube, they can watch where and when they want,” says Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “Despite the attention lavished on tablets and phones, an astonishing 83 percent of free TV streaming programs are viewed on a computer.”

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

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