Virtual MVPD – A Melting Pot of Passionate TV Viewers


It’s the golden age of television with more great things to watch, and more ways to watch than ever before. In the ever expanding ways to access high quality TVideo content you may or may not yet be familiar with the term Virtual MVPD (vMVPD), which stands for Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor. A Virtual MVPD offers a broad range of high quality video content like any cable, satellite or telco company delivers traditional TV but over the Internet, without needing any network infrastructure. It’s basically what we used to call ‘cable TV’ but without the cord. Some popular vMVPDs or streaming TV packages as I like to call them include Sling TV, Playstation Vue, Fubo, Hulu + Live TV, etc.

vMVPD consumers may be a small proportion of the overall TV audience, but they are passionate about their content -- and a group that operators and new entrants alike are smart to court. Currently they make up 7% of total US adults, or 16.6 MM people, and demographically this is an audience any advertiser would covet, young, diverse and wealthy. These consumers are more likely to be men (62%, index 128) and young in age, with over one-third falling into the ever sought after 18-34 age group. Overall, a diverse group with above-average concentrations of African American (15%, index 116) and Hispanic (19%, index 120) consumers. Close to one-fifth (19%) have HHI of at least $150k, which is higher than those who are fully cordless and on-par with consumers who watch linear TV. Yet, unlike the typical linear TV viewer, the vMVPD consumer is disproportionately made up of parents (39%, index 132). This has clear implications, the most obvious being that these consumers are more likely be in the market for kid-related products – such as children’s clothing, toys, games, and of course kids programming.

Now that we know whom the vMVPD consumers are as people, let us take a closer look at how they feel about TV and life itself. Plain and simple TV is their passion – they are 22% more likely than the average adult to say “I just love watching TV” and 16% more likely to say “TV improves my life.” Not only is TV a passion and habit for them but they also crave Live content – over one-third (35%) of vMVPD consumers agreed strongly to the statement “I love to watch live TV”. This group is also willing to pay for great content, one-quarter say they would pay for a premium channel or streaming service to watch a show they are interested in viewing. It is not surprising that vMVPD consumers like to stay current, but do not shy away from a good binge session.

Passion is not only a theme when it comes to TVideo viewing, but also plays into their everyday life. Half of vMVPD consumers consider their work to be a career, not just a job, and they have a personal goal to make it to the top of their profession. Though work-centric, they are also risk-takers and willing to pay extra to pay for products that fit their “image” – as a result, it is not surprising they are also early adopters for other new products & services.

This is an attractive group who is leading the charge among Americans to cut the cord but keep the Live content, to watch their favorites in new and interesting ways. Going after this young, affluent and influential target would be a good strategy to retain valuable and attractive TV viewers in the TV ecosystem.

To learn more about Virtual MVPD’s and how to target consumers of this technology, contact us to learn about our Cord Evolution Study.

Jillian Andersen
Jillian Andersen
Jillian Andersen is the Research Director of Consumer Insights & Trends at MRI Simmons. In her role, Jillian is responsible for identifying and exploring drivers to consumer behavior in the changing media landscape and beyond.