New GfK Study Shows Digital Media Players Both Enhance, Detract From Regular TV Viewing

Roughly one-third of owners have reduced or eliminated Pay TV service because of the devices

NEW YORK — (BUSINESS WIRE) — December 1, 2014 — While digital media players clearly enable use of streaming video and other platforms that enhance viewer control, new GfK research suggests that they may actually provide a net gain for traditional TV viewing.

The report, “Digital Media Players 2014,” shows that 19% of TV viewers now own at least one of the three major digital media players: Roku, Google’s Chromecast, or Apple TV. This represents a 10-fold increase over the 2010 ownership level (2%).

Overall, 43% to 50% (levels vary by device brand) of digital media player owners say that they use the devices in addition to their regular TV viewing – larger than the proportions (31% to 42%) that use them to substitute for traditional TV. Chromecast owners are most likely to report that their digital player supplements, rather than replaces, broadcast TV.

But roughly one third (38% to 29%) of digital media player users say they have reduced or eliminated their Pay TV service due to their usage of the devices. Roku owners are most likely to report “cord slicing” or “cord cutting,” with Chromecast and Apple TV at essentially the same levels.

In addition, 21% to 36% of digital media player owners say they now watch some networks, services, or programs because of their availability on the devices, with Roku users reporting the highest levels of this “new” viewing. A variety of broadcast and cable TV networks are cited, as well as series such as “Sons of Anarchy,” “Breaking Bad,” and “The Walking Dead.”

“Digital media players take a primary role in users’ viewing behavior, ranking as the first or second destination – ahead of live TV or DVRs – when deciding what to watch in primetime,” says David Tice, Senior Vice President at GfK. “However, a positive note for linear networks is that digital media player users don’t perceive their use as cannibalizing their regular TV viewing.”

Other topics covered in the new report include

  • user experience scores
  • device user profiles
  • app presence, usage
  • activities on device
  • planned versus spontaneous viewing
  • picture/sound quality versus regular TV

This report is one of a continuing series of topical How People Use® Media reports published each year as part of The Home Technology Monitor™, a syndicated service from GfK.

About GfK

GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.

For more information, please visit or follow GfK on Twitter:


For More Information:
David Stanton, 908-875-9844
Vice President,
GfK Marketing and Communications, Consumer Experiences North America
Email Contact

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