Streaming TV services are now used by 5 percent of US households with Wi-Fi

We’re seeing a lot more households that choose to stream their favorite shows instead of watching them on cable.

According to newly released analytics from the media pros at Comscore, that number has spiked by 58 percent in the past year. The total number — 4.9 million — is a whole 5 percent of US households that choose to stream over Wi-Fi-based services, without the bells and whistles of traditional paid TV.

Comscore specifically looked at “pure play” systems: streamers that don’t offer their own original shows the same way that other services, like Netflix , Hulu, and Amazon Prime do. Right now, these pure players include Sling, along with DirectTV Now, Playstation Vue, YouTube TV, and others. A full 10 percent of streaming time nationwide came from these services this past April, according to Comscore — a 53 percent spike from the previous year.


But it’s not just the young and tech-savvy generation that’s buying in. According to the analysts, there are more older viewers signing up than ever before — only 21 percent of households using these services have a head that’s under 35. That’s an eight point drop from last year, Comscore says.

If a household has one of these services, Comscore added, they’ll spend nearly half their time streaming programming from it. This past April, each of these households streamed 128 hours of content, on average, which was equal parts from these pure-play services, and on-demand services like Netflix.

Overall, these cord cutters spent twice as much time with their eyes glued to a screen when compared to their peers watching on typical cable TV.

Netflix is testing video promos that play in between episodes

Netflix’s latest test feature is a video promo that plays in between episodes of a series you’re watching. The test is only appearing for select users globally and it’s a full-screen video of content Netflix’s algorithms are recommending to a viewer, as spotted by TechCrunch.

Users who have spotted the test feature have taken to (since deleted) Reddit and Twitter to voice their annoyance at having their show-binging interrupted by an ad for other shows. A bug appeared for some users where they were unable to skip the promo and had to watch a certain amount — like with ads on YouTube — before they were able to get to the next episode of their show. Netflix told The Verge that the video promos are supposed to be skippable and that the feature is not permanent. “We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster.”


Adia Watts/ The Verge

Other controversial tests Netflix has rolled out include gamifying children’s shows by adding badges and rewards to encourage younger viewers to keep watching. The parental outrage over that test led Netflix to quickly remove it. Unlike many of Netflix’s experiments, this video promo test also promotes Netflix’s other shows, beyond its original content.

Netflix already auto-plays trailers on its homepage after you log in, and it’s kept that feature even after users gave feedback that it was obnoxious. The company says that these features “cut the time members spend browsing and helped them find something they would enjoy watching even faster.” So the next time you’ve finished an episode of Parks and Recreation, and a video promoting Better Call Saul breaks your flow, Netflix was banking on you to binge watch that next, anyway.