In overall viewing time, for viewers 2 years and older, the average daily viewing was 4 hour 34 minutes--down slightly over a year ago by a minute. For just prime-time viewing, the average for viewers 2 years and older is one hour 10 minutes--also down a minute. Household viewing in prime time also dipped by two minutes to 1 hour 52 minutes.
It's the first time TV viewing has dropped since 1996.
Nielsen calculations came from surveying TV viewing for the 2006-2007 season, which included a full seven days of DVR usage after programs' initial airings. In January 2006, DVR penetration into U.S. TV households was 8%. Now, Nielsen calculates DVRs are in 20.5% of TV homes.
In a release, Patricia McDonough, senior vice president of planning policy & analysis at Nielsen Media Research, notes, in part, an explanation. "There are numerous screens competing for time and attention, as well as consumer devices providing new ways for viewers to watch their favorite shows," she says.
However, even with the drop, TV is still at record levels overall, says Nielsen. Looking at total day household viewing data, it notes that levels are at the same place as a year ago: 8 hours and 14 minutes. "These trends demonstrate that tuning to traditional television remains strong," says McDonough.