U.S. Mobile Video Audience Up 16% To 103.5 Million

Aereo may have shut down its streaming service, but the U.S. mobile audience continues to climb. The number of people watching video on a smartphones (ages 2 and up) in the first quarter reached 103.5 million, up from 89.7 million in the year-earlier period. That's according to the latest quarterly cross-platform report released by Nielsen on Monday.

Average monthly time spent per user viewing mobile video grew was one hour, 37 minutes, up 23% from 1:11 a year ago. Still, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 159 hours people spent each month (or 5:10 per day) watching on traditional TV in the quarter. The audience on traditional TV also continues to grow, albeit only slightly -- hitting 285.4 million, up from 283 million a year ago.

The Internet video audience contracted from a year ago, falling to 151.5 million from 155.2 million -- likely the result of more viewers switching to mobile or other devices. Conversely, time spent watching Internet video has jumped 57% from seven hours to nearly 11 hours a month, indicating a shrinking but more dedicated audience.

More than 20 million people, for example, watched video through TV-streaming like Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast, with time spent at an average of 1:37 per month. Nielsen didn’t provide year-earlier figures since it only added what it calls the “multimedia devices category in the fourth quarter of 2013.

During the fourth quarter, the company also began basing its figures for mobile video and other mobile usage on metered data rather than survey-based insights.

The number of people using the mobile Web or any app on a smartphone app in the first quarter went up 22% in the last year, from almost 122 million to 149 million. Time spent increased at about the same rate -- from 30 to 37 hours. Time spent using the Internet on a computer fell by about 1:40 to nearly 28:30 a month.

Looking at demographic trends, African-Americans showed the biggest gains in mobile media consumption in the quarter, though generally still below the level of Hispanics. Almost 16 million African-Americans watched video on a smartphone, up from 12.8 million a year ago. But that’s still less than the 21.7 million Hispanics who did so in the quarter.

In terms of age, people in the 18-24 bracket watched mobile video the most, at an average of 2:52 a month. At the same time, they watched less traditional TV than the average for all age groups, at about 111 hours a month versus 159 hours.

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