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Report: TV Usage at All-Time High

24 Nov, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

In case there was any doubt, a new Nielsen Co. report rams home the truth: TV is America’s No. 1 friend.

So far in 2008, the average American household watched eight hours and 18 minutes of TV a day, an all-time record since Nielsen started keeping track in the 1950s. The average citizen today watches roughly 142 hours of TV every month, five more hours than last year. If the quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year trends hold true, Americans’ TV time will continue to rise.

“Our numbers show that TV remains the dominant choice for most Americans, yet timeshifting, as well as videos on the Internet and on mobile phones, continue to be the trends to watch,” said Susan Whiting, vice chairwoman for The Nielsen Co.

Indeed, the average American is now spending six-plus hours a month watching “timeshifted” TV (programs recorded to a DVR for later viewing), twice the amount in 2007. That can be construed as bad news for advertisers, whose messages can be skipped with DVRs. However advertisers are finding more avenues in Internet and mobile phone videos. Usage of both is increasing every month, according to the Nielsen report, with no signs of slowing down. Of the 27 hours a month Americans are online (a 5.7% increase from 2007), more than two hours are dedicated to video. On average, mobile phone users actually spend even more time watching video, logging three hours a month.

“Americans keep finding more time to spend with the three screens,” Whiting said. “TV use is at an all-time high, yet people are also using the Internet more often – 31% of which is happening simultaneously.”

Also of note from the report: Men are more likely than women to watch video on a mobile phone, while women are more likely than men to get their video fix on the Internet.

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