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Roku Predicts Future of Streaming TV

Roku doesn’t just sell streaming boxes; it also produces operating systems for smart TVs. As such, the company is very interested both in what viewers are watching, and how they’re watching it. After sifting through data from a variety of reliable media analysis firms, the company put together a handful of trends that may influence how people watch TV – and how they don’t – in 2017.

Bigger Screens, More Attention

As much as every streaming service loves to tout its mobile and computer apps, viewers don’t generally watch on small screens unless they have to. Data from RealityMine suggests that 70 percent of Sling viewers, 60 percent of Netflix viewers and 55 percent of Amazon viewers watched video content primarily on a TV. Only Hulu broke even at 50 percent.

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More Live TV to Stream

The Super Bowl, the Olympics and coverage of the United States presidential election all appeared on streaming platforms (in wide release) for the first time in 2016. In fact, more people streamed the Rio 2016 Olympics than watched it through traditional TV slots, according to Sandvine. Coverage of news, sports and awards shows will only become more common over time.

Lots of Ads

Viewers are totally content to watch shows with ads, provided they can get said shows for free, according to data from Modi Media. More than 37 million households watched free programs supported by ads, and that number will likely continue to grow in 2017. Whether this will eventually cut into premium services like Netflix is anyone’s guess.

Cable Replacement Takes Center Stage

Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now and similar cable replacement services are all the rage, based on data from AT&T. More than 20 million households in the United States have gotten rid of their cable or satellite subscriptions for good; in the meantime, Sling TV and PS Vue have gained tremendous amounts of subscribers and buzz. Expect to see more competitors before the market evens out.

Bear in mind that Roku’s data points make it seem as though Roku’s streaming boxes and TVs are right at the center of these trends, so it’s best to treat the data – or at least its interpretation – with a grain of salt. The predictions are hardly outlandish ones, but if there’s one thing the streaming market knows how to do, it’s completely upend consumer expectations.