Still, the penetration number is not insignificant. Nielsen says time-shifting was 30 minutes a day on average in the third quarter, up from 28 minutes in the same quarter last year.
That will help TV networks attain their goal of gaining 1% to 3% more advertising revenue from time-shifters. They will do that by using commercial ratings metrics that extend to seven days or more of time-shifted viewing.
Nielsen is also focusing on the measurement of viewing via streaming video on both computers and mobile. There is much more to do on smartphones and computers than watching video, of course, but Nielsen said that Internet usage on any computer was up six minutes a day in the third quarter, to 1 hour and six minutes; smartphone usage rose a whopping 23 minutes a day, to one hour and 33 minutes. But video ad revenues from those sources would seem to be farther down the road than with time-shifting.
What remains is a slow-moving market for big TV-centric media companies looking for growth -- in a traditional way.