According to new data from the NPD Group, more people in the United States watched their favorite television programs on Hulu.com than any other free Internet streaming television provider last year. The data showed that Hulu nearly completely dominated the free streaming TV marketplace by grabbing a huge 43% share of the total stream offerings in 2012 even though most consumers are not aware that nearly all of the current broadcast and cable TV networks now also offer some free streaming of their regular programming online as well.
The NPD Group, Inc., once known as the National Purchase Diary, is one of North America’s leading market research companies, and consistently ranks in the top 25 market research companies in the independent Honomichl Top 50 report that the rest of the media research industry accepts as one of the most credible sources of information on the market research industry in the U.S. today. Founded back in 1967, the NPG Group provides important consumer and retail information to manufacturers by using actual sales data to report trends in consumer purchasing behavior. The NPD data provides data on industries including apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, food and beverage, food-service, footwear, home improvement, house wares, imaging, information technology, movies, music, software, toys, video games and wireless devices. Subscribers to the NPD reports can get consumer and retail sales tracking services, special industry reports, modeling and analytics, and custom research projects too.
The latest NPD report on free streaming television providers found that following Hulu, five other broadcast network sites including CBS.com, ABC.com, Fox.com, NBC.com, and CWTV.com, together accounted for an additional 30% of the total streams in 2012. Cable TV outlets including ABCFamily.com, ComedyCentral.com, MTV.com, and A&ETV.com filled the rest of the slots in the list of top 10 free streaming TV sites of the year.
NPD noted that subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and Amazon Prime currently drive most of the new free online TV streams, even though the traditional paid TV operators and networks still dominate the consumer TV landscape by a wide margin. Surprisingly, the report showed that the number of consumers using paid streaming services in 2012 was about the same as those who took advantage of the free streaming services with 12% of U.S. TV watchers streaming TV shows for free during the past three months, compared to the 14% who watched TV shows through SVOD services in the same time period.
Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a statement that the report shows that "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, despite the attention lavished on tablets and phones, an astonishing 83% of free TV streaming programs are now viewed on a computer." The NPD research also found that most consumers are happy with free streaming services overall and each of the top providers also enjoyed very positive consumer feedback, with at least 75% of each site's users reporting that they would use the same services again in the future.