Nielsen: Americans Love TV, Viewing Options Change

by , May 3, 2012, 9:32 AM
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Nielsen data indicates that Americans continue to love the traditional TV set, but their ways of watching TV content are changing. The average American watches close to five hours of video a day -- 98% on a traditional TV set. But gaming consoles, for one, offer a “secondary gateway” for content and are available in 45% of TV homes.

In the last year, 8 million more homes acquired an HDTV set. Nielsen said this “suggests that the TV screen remains the dominant platform on which to consume content, but the “definition of the traditional TV home will evolve.”

As that takes shape, Nielsen data shows there is plenty of traditional viewing, with live and time-shifted versions accounting for 33-plus hours a week.

This viewing is down by 0.5%, however, compared to the last three months of 2010.

Netflix has proven to be popular on TV sets, with more than half of users watching on one via a gaming console or over-the-top device. Gaming consoles are in 3% more homes versus last year, and in the last three months of 2011, Americans spent 30% more time on them versus the same year-ago period.

Homes without kids are showing growth in console adoption, which Nielsen said is “demonstrating … (they) are appealing to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes.

Microsoft, for one, has tried to turn its Xbox into an entertainment hub.

Consoles might be growing, but Nielsen suggested cord-cutting is not -- saying “it will take major industry changes or consumer behavior swings to affect the subscription model anytime soon.”

Nielsen suggested that kids are gravitating to time-shifted viewing, as it was up about 20% over last year among the 2-to-11 set. Whole-home DVRs that allow kids to watch on a secondary TV screen and consoles may be factors.

Smartphones are also propelling more video consumption, with 35.5 million mobile phone owners watching video on their phones -– up 35.7% over last year.

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