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Nielsen: TV Viewing Still Dwarfs Online Video Consumption

9 Mar, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Subscription streaming and online video may get all the headlines, but traditional television watching continues to consume most American’s home entertainment time.

Americans watched an average of 155 hours and 32 minutes of broadcast television a month in the fourth quarter of 2013 — down about 52 minutes a month for the same period in 2012, according to new data from Nielsen.

The decline is immaterial considering viewers averaged 14 hours and 40 minutes of “time-shifted TV” content in Q4 compared with 12 hours and 38 minutes during the same period in 2012.

When factoring the 2 hours and 2 minutes difference, Americans continue to watch a record amount of broadcast TV.

Comparatively, Americans averaged 7 hours and 54 minutes of monthly video via a video game console, up 1 hour and 19 minutes from the same period in 2012. Watching video on a smartphone increased 23 minutes to 1 hour and 23 minutes; watching video on the Internet increased 1 hour and 40 minutes to 7 hours and 34 minutes a month.

Streaming video through a multimedia device (e.g. Roku) topped 1 hour and 12 minutes monthly, while watching video through a connected DVD or Blu-ray Disc player declined 17 minutes to 5 hours and 21 minutes.

Nielson reported 94.9 million U.S. households owned a DVD or Blu-ray Disc player in Q4, down 193,000 households from the same period in 2012. More than 145 million people used a disc player on a monthly basis in Q4, down from 152 million a year ago.

Indeed, the average U.S. adult (18+) spent 5 hours and 4 minutes a day watching live TV (down 6 minutes from 2012) in Q4; 2 hours and 46 minutes listening to AM/FM radio (down 4 minutes); 1 hour and 7 minutes using a smartphone (up 14 minutes); 1 hour and 1 minute using the Internet (down 4 minutes); 32 minutes watching time-shifted TV fare (up 5 minutes); 12 minutes using a video game console (up 2 minutes); and 9 minutes daily using a disc player (down 1 minute).

“The more things change, the more they stay the same, or so the saying goes,” Dounia Turrill, SVP of Insights for Nielsen, wrote in the study. “From the Super Bowl to the Olympics, we’ve seen the draw of live and special event programming. But we’ve also seen popular dramas return to the screen with record numbers showing that scripted television does draw audiences.”


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