Commentary

TV Hours Watched Yielding To Digital Video

According to a new report by Nielsen, young people continue to shift their viewing activities to digital video. Since the second quarter of 2012, Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 have increased their video viewing by 16 minutes a day and decreased TV watching by 10 minutes. But while Millennials may be leading the charge to non-traditional view, it's not solely a youth movement, says the report.

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The Q2 Cross-Platform Report says that per capita TV watching among all age groups declined four hours a month in the past year, but watching videos on PCs and smartphones increased by more than four hours. Gross viewing time still largely favors TV at 142 hours a month to 12 hours per month for digital video. However, the report sees video's growth as a long-term trend. 

Dounia Turrill, Nielsen SVP of Insights, says “… may have started with millennials… but the gap is narrowing between their viewing habits and those of older consumers… (who) are showing growth in their adoption of smartphones… so viewing video content is becoming easier for everybody…” 

Some of the disparities in viewing habits among age groups might be explained by lifestyle differences:

  • People aged 35-49, who are more likely to be occupied with raising young children, watch 40 fewer hours of television a month than Americans aged 50-64.
  • Their Internet video viewing habits, meanwhile, are not all that far apart; the younger group logs 12 hours a month to eight and a half hours for the older group. 

More and better content is playing a factor in video's growing popularity, Turill says.  “Whether… smartphone or computer… there is increased video content and longer form content…”

It appears, though, that a select group is consuming that long-form content, according to the Nielsen report. An average user in the top quintile watched 6 hours and 42 minutes of video a month in Q2, while the next highest segment watched only 1 hour and 10 minutes. Yet video viewing increased among all five groupings.

Technology has enabled increased choice, says Nielsen. At the core of it all is the consumer experience in interacting and accessing content. Some people want their content live on their TV delivered via traditional or broadband, some want to watch it at a different time, while others will increasingly look for it on-the-go and on-demand on their mobile devices. With smartphones topping 70% penetration and tablets inching toward the 50% mark, the growth in digital consumption can only increase, says the report.

For more from Nielsen, please visit here.

3 comments about "TV Hours Watched Yielding To Digital Video".
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  1. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, September 15, 2014 at 4:56 p.m.

    Dear Jack,
    The average person consumes 12 times more "TV" hours than "Digital" video hours. In a sense, we are talking about the difference between an inch and a foot. Better still we might want to visualize a difference in time tantamount to the difference in height between New York's One World Trade Center (1776 feet) and Paris' Arc de Triomphe. Of similare concern is the article's failure to disclose how much of the "Digital" video is actually TV in a more convenient (e.g., smaller) form (i.e., PC Screen, Tablet or Smart Phone.) The world of TV is not coming to an end, it is simply experiencing a natural evolutionary process. We do ourselves a serious disservice by resorting to the logical fallacy of celebrating distinctions without a difference. Obviously, Nielsen and other businesses would love it if such distinctions were permitted to blur our vision and distort our judgment. Near as I can tell from this "Nielsen Story," however, "Digital Video" accounts for LESS than 2% of the average person's day. Does that justify the corporate hysteria that floats more business than I care to measure today. It's time for trip to Paris for a better sense perspective.
    Au revoir,
    Nick

  2. Jack Loechner from Mediapost Communications, September 15, 2014 at 6:10 p.m.

    ... good point, but c'est la vie

  3. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, September 15, 2014 at 6:27 p.m.

    Merci beaucoup.

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