Altman Vilandrie & Company Survey: Tablets Are Not Dead, Smartphones Viewers Are TV’s New “Holy Grail”

New survey shows strong growth in tablet video viewing across all age groups

Half of younger viewers watch TV or movies weekly on smartphone

BOSTON--()--The number of consumers using tablets to watch TV and movies has skyrocketed in recent years and many consumers bought tablets for the first time last year, according to a new annual consumer survey by Altman Vilandrie & Company.

Last month, critics scoffed at comments by Apple CEO Tim Cook that tepid iPad sales were “speed bump.” However, the Altman Vilandrie & Company survey shows that tablets are more popular than ever: Tablet ownership increased to 50% from 40% in 2013 and the percentage of all consumers watching TV or movies on tablets weekly jumped to 26% from 17% last year.

“It turns out that Tim Cook was right and the demise of the tablet has been greatly exaggerated,” said Altman Vilandrie & Company Director Jonathan Hurd, who oversaw the survey. “While tablet ownership saw solid gains, the significant growth of folks using a tablet to regularly watch TV and movies proves that this is a viewing platform that will be with us for the long haul.”

The survey also found that smartphones are now used weekly to watch TV or movies by more than 40% of consumers under 35. Seventy-eight percent of “smartphone viewers” watch paid online video weekly, vs. only 49% of others, but 78% also watch broadcast TV weekly, slightly above the 76% rate of others. A supermajority (71%) of smartphone viewers also binge watch (i.e. watch three episodes of a program in one sitting) at least monthly and 41% use their cable provider’s TV Everywhere service every month. Overall, consumer awareness of TV Everywhere, which is generally included in a cable subscription, remains stubbornly low at 40% compared to 58% of smartphone users.

“Smartphone viewers watch more TV, are more aware of services and subscribe to more platforms than the typical consumer,” said Hurd. “They are the new Holy Grail for the TV industry and providers should be devising strategies for capturing this growing and active demographic, especially as more consumers are cutting back on their cable services.”

Other findings from the survey include:

  • The phenomenon of cord shaving, or consumers spending less on cable, jumped from 26% last year to 35% in 2014. Now, more than half of consumers under 35 say they spend less on cable than they used to because they use internet video instead;
  • The percentage of consumers who considered cancelling cable service has doubled since 2010 (15% to 30%) but only rose slightly since 2013 (28%);
  • The number of households not subscribing to cable TV due to online video remains low, at about 5% of TV households, and more than 60% of non-subscribing consumers under age 35 said it is likely they will subscribe to cable in the next five years.

The survey, conducted by Altman Vilandrie & Company since 2010, also analyzed consumers’ attitudes toward add-on video and TV programming services. Key portions of this analysis, including comparisons of brand favorability of online providers (e.g., Netflix, Apple, Hulu) and traditional cable operators, are available to media by request. In addition, Altman Vilandrie & Company will release data on the video viewing habits of teenagers, surveyed for the first time this year, over the next several weeks.

Altman Vilandrie & Company fielded the survey in July with more than 3,000 U.S. consumer respondents drawn from an online panel provided by Research Now. For details about further research topics and more information about the study, contact Jonathan Hurd at

About Altman Vilandrie & Company

Altman Vilandrie & Company is a strategy consulting group that focuses on the telecom, media, technology and investor sectors. The company’s consultants are experienced in strategy, marketing, finance, M&A, technology, regulatory and operations disciplines. Based in Boston, with offices in New York City and San Francisco, Altman Vilandrie & Company enables clients to seize new opportunities, navigate mounting challenges, improve business performance, and increase investor value within complex and converging industries.

Ninety percent of the boutique firm’s operator clients are large- to mid-cap companies including service providers, technology and software developers, and media companies. Altman Vilandrie & Company’s financial clients include many of the largest and most prominent investors in the telecom, media and technology markets.


Altman Vilandrie & Company
Cort Boulanger, 339-222-2442

Release Summary

Surge in tablet TV and movie viewing shows tablets not dead, smartphone viewers are TV's new "Holy Grail" according to new survey by Altman Vilandrie & Company.


Altman Vilandrie & Company
Cort Boulanger, 339-222-2442