The Total TV Watcher

Samsung Ads Reveals Insights and Opportunities for Advertisers Based on How U.S. Households Really Watch TV

Today there are nearly as many households watching TV via streaming platforms as through traditional means such as cable or satellite (clocking in at 68 percent and 70 percent of households, respectively). While many in the industry have tried to separate streaming and cable/satellite TV audiences, new insights released by Samsung Ads reveals a much more complex ecosystem evolving and highlights a group of powerful consumers that has emerged – The Total TV Watcher, those who consume TV via both streaming platforms and traditional means.


This group consumes content seamlessly across both streaming and traditional sources. Total TV Watchers view 15 percent more TV per day than consumers who solely watch TV through traditional channels (cable and satellite), and a full 26 percent more than consumers who have cut the cord.


“The industry is at a key inflection point and this balance isn’t likely to last,” said Tom Fochetta, Vice President, Samsung Ads. “It’s time to re-examine the way advertisers, content producers and publishers view TV audiences, moving beyond cord-cutters and traditional viewers. The combination of traditional and streaming content is a powerful one, and is presenting new opportunities to reach consumers on the household’s biggest screen.”


Total TV Watchers, which make up 38 percent of the studied audience, are greater in number than those who solely watch TV through traditional means or those who only stream.


Samsung TV Viewing Trends

Type of TV watcher

% of time spent watching TV of all forms vs. ‘solely cable/satellite’ group

Hours and Minutes Spent with TV

% of Samsung Smart TV Owners

Linear only (cable / satellite TV)



Total TV Watchers (both Linear + Streamers)




Streaming Only





Who are Total TV Watchers?

Total TV Watchers have higher incomes, live in households with highly sought-after members of Generation Z and millennials, and are more likely to spend money both online and offline than the average American household. They watch two more hours of TV per day on average than those who only stream, and are comfortable switching between linear and streaming environments in order to consume the content they’re most passionate about.


When compared to the average American household, Total TV Watchers are:

    • 65% more likely to have a “young adult*” in their household
    • 56% more likely to earn $175k or more a year
    • 70% more likely to be in the top 20 percent for online spend
    • 50% more likely to be in the top 20 percent for offline spend


“Total TV Watchers are an extremely sought-after group with household demographics that have traditionally been thought of as hard-to-reach”, said Fochetta. “This powerful group of consumers is turning on their TVs more often and consuming more types of content than ever before, making it necessary for advertisers that want to reach them to leverage Advanced TV strategies.”


Consumers are Cutting the HDMI Cord

Not only are the platforms through which content is viewed evolving, but so is the hardware. According to the report, 85 percent of streaming is now done directly through the Smart TV’s built-in functionality, and new Samsung Smart TV owners are 60 percent less likely to use an external streaming device.


In addition to lessening the reliance on streaming hardware, it is no surprise that consumers are also less likely to plug in a cable box, instead streaming traditional TV through virtual multichannel video programming distributors (VMVPDs).


“Smart TVs offer unprecedented amounts of control and connection for all types of TV consumers, helping to create new ways of accessing, curating, and viewing content,” said Cathy Oh, Global Head of Marketing & Analytics, Samsung Ads.



Samsung Ads analyzed media consumption behaviors during February 2019.  Media consumption was measured across linear viewing, connected devices and app usage behaviors.  All data is based in the U.S. and is from devices that opted-in.


*Young Adults Living with their parents – individuals who are 19 to 25 years old and not the head of household (HOH) or Spouse of HOH.

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