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Americans are streaming, binge-watching more than ever

Prime-time can be anytime these days, and people are taking advantage of more options for viewing video on their own schedules than ever before.

A new report by mobile device manufacturer Ericsson, looking at consumers in 20 countries, finds more than a third of all TV and video viewing hours are now spent watching on-demand content.

People reported streaming videos on-demand about six hours per week, according to the Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report, which was based on surveys of 22,500 people aged 16 to 69 in 20 countries who had broadband Internet connections and watch TV or video at least once a week.

That's the double the amount since 2011 and accounts for about 35 percent of all TV and video viewing time, the report says.

The number of people watching video on a smartphone has increased 136 percent in the U.S. since 2012, the report says. But mobile viewing habits differ by age, with younger people far more likely to watch video on small screens.

American teenagers spend more than half their viewing time -- 55 percent -- on mobile devices including tablets, laptops, and smartphones. Less than a quarter of their viewing took place on traditional television screens. By contrast, adults age 45 and over do more than half their viewing on regular TVs.


Binge-watching is also a growing trend: 87 percent of people who said they have a subscription video-on-demand service like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go or HBO Now said they binge-watch at least once a week. So did 74 percent of those without video-on-demand.

However, on-demand viewers had some complaints. In the survey, 33 percent said they had trouble finding content they wanted to watch, and many said their subscription service recommendation lists weren't well-suited to their taste.

The Ericsson report also found that user-generated content, like YouTube, is becoming more popular around the world, with one in 10 respondents saying they watch at least three hours per week of user-created videos.

The sharp rise in watching video on-demand is spawning more competitors in the streaming services market and more attrition in the cable industry. Cable is struggling to reinvent its business model as more people realize they no longer need to subscribe to view their favorite shows, but can stream them through smart TVs, mobile devices, and set-top boxes instead.

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