Online TV Complements Traditional But 18-24 Year Olds Aren't Keeping Up

According to Nielsen’s most recent TV study, summarized by Marketing Charts, Americans aged 18-24 watched a weekly average of a little less than 22 hours of traditional TV during Q1 2014. That was a 95-minute drop-off from Q1 2013, which in turn had been down by 80 minutes from the year before.

In the space of 3 years, Q1 TV viewing by 18-24-year-olds dropped by a little more than 4-and-a-half hours per week. That’s equivalent to roughly 40 minutes per day, says the report. In percentage terms, traditional TV viewing among 18-24-year-olds in Q1 2014 was down by almost 7% year-over-year. Between Q1 2011 and Q1 2014, weekly viewing fell by almost 18%.

Traditional TV Viewing Trends (18-24 Year Olds; Weekly Hrs:Min)

 

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2011

26:28

24:17’

23.57

25:24

2012

24:44

22:32

21:59

23:14

2013

23:24

21:32

21:45

22:27

2014

21:49

 

 

 

Source: Nielsen, July 2014

Though 18% is a composite figure over 3 years, the weekly average in TV viewing by 18-24-year-olds has dropped on a year-over-year basis for at least 9 consecutive quarters. Here’s what the decline looks like since last year in fewer minutes per day:

  • Q1 2014 vs. Q1 2013: 14 minutes less per day
  • Q4 2013 vs. Q4 2012: 7 minutes less
  • Q3 2013 vs. Q3 2012: 2 minutes less
  • Q2 2013 vs. Q2 2012: 9 minutes less
  • Q1 2013 vs. Q1 2012: 11 minutes less

The declines in TV viewing for the 18-24 age group appear to be speeding up, says the report, after slowing through most of last year. Those decreases in viewing might reflect increasing consumption of Online video, though the Nielsen data indicates that time spent watching traditional TV still exceeds online and smartphone video by a considerable margin, even among youth. In fact, says the report, research suggests that online video acts as a complement rather than a replacement for traditional TV.

Consumption trends are mixed for older age groups: TV viewing among 25-34-year-olds declined again in Q1, also for the 9th consecutive quarter. But consumption was steady among 35-49-year-olds, arresting a multi-quarter decline, while increasing among those aged 50 and older.

Traditional TV Consumption By Age (2014 Q1; Weekly Time in Hrs:Min)

Age

Q1, 2014, Weekly Hrs:Min

12-17

21:12

18-24

21:49

25-34

27:35

35-49

34:23

50-64

45:18

65+

52:03

Source: Nielsen, July 2014

Looking at other age groups, 25-34 year-old viewers watched close to 2 hours less per month during Q1 2014 than during Q1 2013. The 35-49 demo posted a slight decline, watching only about 15 minutes less per month during Q1 2014. Consumption among 50-64-year-old viewers grew by more than 1-and-a-half hours, while it increased by about 6-and-a-half-hours among the 65+ crowd.

Teens are often used as a barometer of things to come, says the report. In Q1, 12-17-year-olds watched an average of 21 hours and 12 minutes of traditional TV per week, representing only a 10-minute year-over-year decline. That was significantly less than the declines seen throughout 2013.

Looking at year-over-year patterns, teen consumption of TV decreased:

  • by 10 minutes per week in Q1 2014;
  • by 47 minutes per week in Q4 2013;
  • by 49 minutes in Q3 2013;
  • by 58 minutes in Q2 2013;
  • by 52 minutes in Q1 2013;

While consumption decreases expanded among the 18-24 group in Q1, the opposite was true for teens. Among 12-17-year-olds in TV households, consumption was down by only about 1½  hours per month, compared to a 4½  hour drop in Q4 and a 3 hour decline in Q3.

Concluding, the report says that the trends indicate that while viewing remains strong among older age groups, it’s tailing off with younger audiences. Particularly with the emergence of alternative viewing methods, one might expect that consumption decreases will continue among this age group, says the report.

And, according to the Nielsen data, available in more than 60% of U.S. households, video on demand (VOD) is increasingly contributing to the viewing potential. While on average VOD contributes 4-5% in the 18-49 demographic, individual shows have seen upward of 15-20% increase in viewership from VOD. It’s also a platform that is appealing to younger demographics, and Asian-Americans, whose overall contribution through VOD is 8%.

Recently Telecast VOD

Viewer Age

Live Viewing

Time Shifted

VOD Viewing

   All

67%

29%

3%

   2-11

64

30

6

   12-17

64

29

7

   18-34

59

35

5

   35-49

60

36

4

   50-64

68

29

3

   65+

75

23

2

Race/Ethnicity

   Asian American

52%

40%

8%

   Hispanic

63

32

5

   African American

76

19

9

   White (non-Hispanic)

65

32

3

Source: Nielsen, July 2014

For additional information, and to access the complete Nielsen report, please visit here.

 

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