According to a new report from Marketing Charts, youth as a whole are watching less traditional TV, but the data in the Q3 2015 total audience report from Nielsen suggests that the declines may be slowing, and that traditional TV remains the primary video viewing mechanism for adults across all age groups.
Nielsen’s most recent “Total Audience Report” indicates that Americans aged 18-24 watched a weekly average of 15-and-a-half hours of traditional TV during Q3 2015. That represents a year-over-year decline of a little more than 2 hours per week. In other words, 18-24-year-olds as a group went from watching about 2-and-a-half hours per day during the third quarter of 2014 to a little more than 2 hours and ten minutes per day during Q3 of this year.
Traditional TV Viewing Habits (18-24 Population; hrs;min; 2015)
Weekly Viewing Hrs:Min
Source: Nielsen Data, December 2015; (Q3 Live Viewing: 13:58, TimeShifted: 1:32)
This was the smallest year-over-year drop among the 18-24 population since Q1 2014, and is the third consecutive quarter where there has been a contraction in the year-over-year viewing decline, says the report.
Nevertheless, between 2011 and 2015, Q3 traditional TV viewing by 18-24-year-olds dropped by almost 8-and-a-half hours per week, or by more than an hour and ten minutes per day. In percentage terms, Q3 traditional TV viewing by 18-24-year-olds was down by 11.8% year-over-year and has now fallen by 35% between 2011 and 2015. In the space of 4 years, more than one-third of this age group’s traditional TV viewing time has migrated to other activities or streaming.
Of course, there are other age groups of interest when analyzing traditional TV viewing, including teens (a potential leading indicator) and older Millennials (aged 25-34), who might be more apt to watch traditional TV as they round into life stages such as parenthood and home ownership.
Looking at the latest Total Audience Report, the data indicates that:
Those results strongly show the age-related skew in traditional TV viewing, with declines easing off with each age bracket. Overall, live TV consumption by adults averaged 4 hours and 7 minutes per day in Q3, down from 4 hours and 13 minutes per day during Q3 2014 and 4 hours and 27 minutes per day in Q3 2013. Clearly, those modest declines mask the larger drops among younger age groups, says the report.
Video Viewing By Device (18-34; Weekly Minutes/Adult User; Avg. Week In May)
Weekly Average: Min/User
Source: MarketingCharts; Nielsen Data, December 2015 (This chart measures video consumption among users of each medium; those 18-34-year-olds who don’t watch video on their smartphones are not diluting the average)
And broadcast TV’s audience breakdown, by age:
US Broadcast TV Adult Weekly Viewers; Age and Avg. % Share (Indexed to Adult Average 100)
Data: Experian, Spring 2015; Simmons, Winter 2014
Nielsen’s Comparable Metrics report, which offers a host of data on media reach and consumption, notes that overall media usage is steady among 18-34-year-olds, as increasing time spent with TV-connected devices, smartphones and tablets over the past year have more than offset declines in time spent with TV, radio and the PC.
Some other facts specific to the 18-34 bracket, from the report:
Overall, TV accounts for a larger share of total media time for the lowest-income households than the highest, with this attributed to lower-income adults watching TV more throughout the day. When looking at time-of-day activity (not specific to users of each medium):
The report acknowledges that what’s more pertinent than the precise number is the direction of that figure, and the consistency afforded by these quarterly reports allows for a thorough examination of those trends.
For additional information about the Nielsen Audience Report, please visit here.