Nielsen Finds Online, Mobile Reap Tiny Shares Of '3 Screen' Video

The proliferation of time-shifting technologies and new "screens" for watching video, means Americans are watching more video programming than ever before, but they're still watching it primarily on a traditional video programming platform: the television set. That's the conclusion of a new "three screen" report from Madison Avenue's arbiter of TV audience estimates, the Nielsen Co. The report, which was released Monday as part of Nielsen's overall push into so-called "A2/M2" (anytime/anywhere) video audience measurement, does find that traditional in-home TV viewing has been losing share - albeit modestly - to newer video screen platforms, but that the biggest gainer is not Internet video or even video on the mobile Web, but technologies that enable consumers to watch traditional TV on a time-shifted basis.

While traditional linear TV's share of time spent watching video in the U.S. declined 0.29% between the third quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2008 (the first for which Nielsen is reporting time spent watching video across all three screens), it still dominates the video medium with 91.83% of all minutes spent watching video during the third quarter.



The biggest gainer was viewing via time-shifted devices such as DVRs and video-on-demand, which rose 5.25% to a 4.21% share of all video minutes viewed during the third quarter.

While Internet video and mobile Web video also are growing, they still account for only a fraction of the total video marketplace, as defined by Nielsen. That's important, because Nielsen's estimates are still more or less the proxy for Madison Avenue's TV advertising budgets.

Watching video on the Internet rose 12.5% to 2.52%, while watching video on a mobile phone jumped 11.4% to 2.33% of all video programming viewed during the third quarter of 2008.

The TV and Internet estimates are calculated using Nielsen's national TV and Internet panels, which are measured electronically and reported on a regular basis. The mobile phone figures are collected by Nielsen via a quarterly survey and give a firsthand look at how early adopters report their usage of mobile video.

The paltry online video share estimates are consistent with data presented last month by Black Arrow's Larry Kramer at the OMMA Video conference in Los Angeles. Kramer said the current TV usage landscape is still dominated by linear TV viewing--about 389 billion hours per year in 2008, compared with only 800 million viewing hours for online video. By 2010, he projected, linear TV viewing will decline to 342 billion viewing annual viewing hours, while online video will expand to 14 billion.

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