We are watching more TV -- but increasingly on our own schedules. And that means more overall TV viewing.
Six years ago, DVR usage represented 1.6% of our overall TV time. Now that number is 8%, according to new Nielsen Company data. Female viewers 18-54 are the biggest viewing group when it comes to time allotted for DVR viewing, at 10%.
Just this year, overall TV viewing -- live or time-shifted -- climbed 19 minutes over the first four weeks of the 2011-2012 season.
In six years, the percentage of time for live TV viewing has dropped to 85% from 89%. About 40% of U.S. TV viewers have DVR units. Nielsen says 98% of homes own a TV and most have some kind of device hooked up to their television.
Growth in DVR usage is high when looking at people who view shows that run opposite each other in the same time period on the same night. For example, in 2006, only 2.2% of viewers 18-49 tuned in to both "American Idol" and "NCIS," the top two programs that both aired at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. Now, in 2011, 7% of people 18-49 both watched "Castle" and "Hawaii Five-0" on Mondays at 10 p.m.
Looking at devices connected to TVs, usage of DVD players has decreased across every demographic since 2007, while video game consoles have seen a rise. Video game console usage has climbed almost 40% to 3.9% of all TV time from 2.7%. Teens spend almost 11% of their total TV time with a video game console.
Asians-Americans spend the least TV time of any ethnic group -- 49 hours and 14 minutes during the first four weeks of the broadcast season. But they have added the most TV time this season of any ethnic group (live or time-shifted), adding more than 50 minutes over 2010.
Nielsen says African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans are actually spending less time watching TV in 2011 compared to 2010.