Nielsen Says Digital Extends TV Viewing

Supporting conclusions by other TV-related research, Nielsen Analytics says new digital video platforms are extending the reach of traditional television--especially with younger viewers.

This is especially true, Nielsen says, among younger viewers, who are also affluent and highly educated. Giving its findings, Nielsen says all TV content providers, broadcast networks, cable channels, and TV stations should be able to build new digital revenue models.

Larry Gerbrandt, general manager and senior vice president of Nielsen Analytics, says this is particularly important when focusing on younger viewers. "You can get significant numbers of 18-34 males, which are expensive to get on traditional TV."

One major stabilizing reason for the growth of broadband video is monetary. Digital video businesses can easily disable fast-forward options by viewers that would allow them to skip through commercials on traditional television.

TV programming has been bracing for possible audience erosion with the introduction of new digital video technologies for years. That hasn't happened. Instead, Nielsen Media Research says it has gone in the other direction.

Total TV usage was at a record high in U.S. households at 8 hours, 14 minutes a day during the 2005-2006 TV season. Household viewing has risen more than an hour a day over the past decade--or more than a half-hour more per person.

Nielsen's research says the market is still at odds about whether pre-roll ads--those commercials that come before a particular Internet video begins--will be standardized at one set length. Right now, the market is split between 15-second and 30-second pre-rolls per program segment.

But the benefits are obvious, according to the report, which is titled "Whatever, Whenever, Wherever: How Broadband is Redefining the Economics of Television." Fewer overall commercial loads on broadband video of TV shows--and a better "engagement" by viewers--means a higher CPM than on traditional TV.

The report notes that the 18-34 demo represents 34% of those with broadband connectivity in their household. Although consumers 55+ are less likely than their 18-34 or 35- to-54-year-old counterparts to be broadband customers, broadband penetration among this older age group will likely increase. Larger income levels of older demographics means they will be a bigger growing piece of the business in the future, says Gerbrandt.

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