People are ready to abandon their TV sets in record numbers, study suggests

Key Points
  • Only 23 percent of people globally preferred watching TV on a TV set, a 55 percent decrease from the year before according to an Accenture survey
  • More than 40 percent of TV viewers opted for a laptop or desktop computer
  • Another survey by GfK suggested people without cable or satellite subscriptions preferred shows from streaming platforms, as opposed to traditional TV networks
Kris Ubach adn Quim Roser | Getty Images

Two new surveys published Monday spell out the dramatically changing habits of TV watchers, highlighting the challenges faced by traditional broadcasters.

A new Accenture report shows a dramatic drop in the percentage of people who prefer to watch TV on a regular television set.

The Accenture 2017 Digital Consumer Survey, which involved 26,000 people in 26 countries, showed only 23 percent of viewers preferred watching programming on a television set. Among U.S. survey takers, it was marginally higher at 25 percent.

Last year, 52 percent of people worldwide and 59 percent in the U.S. said their number one choice was to watch TV on a TV set.

The shift means that traditional advertising models may be upended, as live television typically makes up the majority of TV ad inventory.

"The dominance of the TV set as the undisputed go-to entertainment device is ending," Accenture's global managing director for its broadcast business Gavin Mann said in a statement. "While a great number of people still watch plenty of TV shows on TV sets, our research uncovers a rapid acceleration in their preference for viewing on other digital devices — especially laptops, desktops and smartphones."

Instead, more than four out of 10 people said they would rather watch on a laptop or desktop computer, while 13 percent opted for their smartphone. The survey also found just 19 percent of survey takers used their TVs as the go-to device when watching sports games.

In another survey released by market research group GfK on Monday, people who watch video without a cable or satellite TV subscription prefer shows from streaming providers instead of from traditional TV networks.

That could place further pressure on networks and advertisers already struggling with consumers' shifting viewing habits.

GfK surveyed 10,000 U.S. cord-cutters (who canceled their cable or satellite subscriptions) and "cord-nevers" (people who never had a subscription) showed they preferred streaming network programming over broadcast or cable network TV shows. The top 10 shows of both types came from Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, with Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" taking the top honor.

Cord-cutters accounted for about 8 percent of the U.S. population with an average age of 43, while cord-nevers made up 9 percent of the population and had an average age of 34, according to GfK's survey.

Note: CNBC parent company NBCUniversal has an ownership stake in Hulu.