Friends & Humor Prevail When It Comes to Streaming Recommendations

What to watch next is on the minds of viewers according to the latest survey data from Roku, Inc. Conducted ahead of National Streaming Day, taking place on May 20, the survey offered insights into how consumers make streaming decisions, including who and what is the most influential when it comes to deciding what to watch.

Findings include:

  • The threshold for trust is highest among friends: People trusted their friends more than partners or significant others for movie and TV recommendations. Nearly 44% of people in the U.S. trusted friends. By contrast, only 19% trusted the recommendations of their partners or significant others the most.
  • Humor unites us: When it comes to movie and TV show recommendations, 60% of people looked to those with a similar sense of humor versus 31% with the same political and economic social views, 18% of the same gender or 17% from the same town.
  • Commercials reign supreme… even for millennials: Sixty percent of respondents said commercials suggesting television content influenced what they watch. Facebook posts were next, with 43% followed by Twitter (20%) and Snapchat (13%). Even millennial respondents aged 18-34 were more influenced primarily by commercials (59%), and followed closely by Facebook (56%), Twitter (29%) and Snapchat (24%).
  • TV shows are more commonly recommended than travel tips and restaurants: Respondents were more apt to share recommendations on TV shows (29%) and movies (25%) more than restaurants (16%) or travel (7%).
  • People value time alone: Thirty seven percent of people said watching a movie or TV show alone provided valuable “me time.” Other reasons for watching alone included needing to focus on a TV show or movie (27%), embracing the guilty pleasure of a TV show or movie (13%), or because the content was often inappropriate for kids (5%).
  • How You Doin?” ranks the #1 favorite TV quote: Twenty percent of respondents chose this popular Friends quote as their favorite – two decades since being on the air. Nostalgia continued to dominate with “D’oh!” from The Simpsons (12%) and “No soup for you!” from Seinfeld (12%), which took the second and third spots.
  • “May the force be with you” ranks the #1 movie quote: Seventeen percent of respondents chose this time-honored Star Wars quote as their favorite, followed by “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” from Gone with the Wind (11%) and “Go ahead, make my day” from Sudden Impact (11%).

The average American spends 30.55 hours a week watching television, according to Nielsen1. Meanwhile, streaming continues to soar as Roku users streamed 3+ billion hours of video and music in the first quarter of 2017 alone, up from 9+ billion in all of 2016.



“Americans seem to be viewing more content than ever before,” said Abby Reyes, streaming expert at Roku. “Before the advent of streaming, viewing decisions were limited more by scheduling, locality and familiarity. Now, we trade recommendations with a vastly wider circle to help us find what to watch. Although we love our spouses, we’re not always in love with what they want to watch. Instead, we may look to those who have a similar sense of humor to help us choose our next movie or TV show.”

The survey was conducted online by Macro, Inc. using a Cint panel from April 24 to May 1 among a cross section of 1,068 adults aged 18-65 in the United States.

To learn more about Roku’s survey on consumer streaming habits, visit

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About the Author

William B. West
William B. West
William B. West is editor-in-chief of,, and All three sites cover the latest cord cutters news, information, and updates.

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