DVR Penetration, VOD Monthly Usage Hit New Highs In U.S.

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About 44% of American TV households now have at least one digital video recorder, up from 8% in 2005, and 62% digital cable subscribers now use video-on-demand at least monthly versus 52% a year ago, according to a consumer survey by Leichtman Research Group.

Still, about 90% of all TV viewing in the U.S. still via live TV, the research firm found.

"On-demand TV viewing in the forms of DVR and VOD, as well as Netflix streaming, have significantly increased in terms of usage and popularity over the past few years," LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman said. "Yet these on-demand TV platforms remain largely complementary to traditional TV services and viewing."

Overall, 73% of all digital cable subscribers have ever used VOD, with 87% of this group having watched an on-demand program or movie in the past month. Satisfaction with cable VOD also has risen, with 62% of cable VOD users rating the service 8-10 (on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the highest rating), compared with 60% last year and 55% two years ago.

In addition, 74% of premium on-demand users give VOD an 8-10 rating, compared with 54% of users who don't use premium VOD.

About 86% of Netflix households also subscribe to a multichannel video service, and 43% with a multichannel video service subscribe to a premium service. That's similar to all households in the sample and similar to Netflix households last year, according to LRG.

Satisfaction with Netflix's Internet-streaming service is similar to cable VOD, with 63% of all Netflix customers rating the feature 8-10 compared with 48% last year and 37% two years ago. One-fifth of Netflix members use Watch Instantly daily and 57% use it weekly.

LRG also found that one-third of DVR households have more than one DVR, representing 14% of all households having multiple DVRs.

The report is based on a telephone survey of 1,347 adults 18 and older from across the continental U.S. in households with a TV set, conducted in August and September 2011. The sample has a statistical margin of error of 2.7%.