Overall TV Viewing Flattens, Primetime Declines

Categories: TV Business,TV Ratings Reference

Written By

October 18th, 2007

20.5% of TV Households Have DVRs

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Nielsen released information showing that average TV viewing for US households was flat from 2005-6 to 2006-7 at 8:14 per day.

Average Primetime household viewing fell 1 minute from 1:11 to 1:10.

That flattening and decline also take into account Live+7 viewing for 2005-6 and 2006-7, so live viewing of TV shows are showing declines, but we have no specific data.

Nielsen also said that DVR ownership more than doubled in the last 2 years to 20.5% of TV households up from 17.2% of households in May, 2007 and 8% in January, 2006.

 
  • http://yahoo.com Eva G.

    To quote Alanis Morsette, “it figures…” LOL :-)

  • http://yahoo.com Eva G.

    To quote Alanis Morsette, “it figures…” LOL :-)

  • wren

    Does anyone know what the record is for most TV viewing by household per day? 24 hours?

    I think these numbers SUCK.

    Primetime @ 1:10 implies about 35% of primetime.

    8:14-1:10 = 7:04 of 21 non-primetime or again 35%.

    So Americans watch TV as much in non-primetime as primetime.

    If we assume 11 hours for sleep, bathroom, school, work, that leaves 10 hours for TV.

    7/10 = 70% of all free time (on average) used watching TV?

    Wrong.

  • wren

    Does anyone know what the record is for most TV viewing by household per day? 24 hours?

    I think these numbers SUCK.

    Primetime @ 1:10 implies about 35% of primetime.

    8:14-1:10 = 7:04 of 21 non-primetime or again 35%.

    So Americans watch TV as much in non-primetime as primetime.

    If we assume 11 hours for sleep, bathroom, school, work, that leaves 10 hours for TV.

    7/10 = 70% of all free time (on average) used watching TV?

    Wrong.

  • Bill Gorman

    Wren, is your point that 8:14 is too much time per day spent watching the TV? I think I agree with that.

    If your point is that the numbers are somehow incorrect, remember that that 8:14 is not for a single person, it's for an entire household. 4 different people watching at different times for 2 hours each would do it and use far less than 70% of their free time.

    Our friends at Nielsen are far from infallible, but with a number this basic, I think they are likely very close to the mark.

  • Bill Gorman

    Wren, is your point that 8:14 is too much time per day spent watching the TV? I think I agree with that.

    If your point is that the numbers are somehow incorrect, remember that that 8:14 is not for a single person, it’s for an entire household. 4 different people watching at different times for 2 hours each would do it and use far less than 70% of their free time.

    Our friends at Nielsen are far from infallible, but with a number this basic, I think they are likely very close to the mark.

  • wren

    Hmm

    I thought it was number of TV hours on per day per household not people * hours/avg. household.

    I am still dubious about the intensity of TV watching in non-prime time. a) Only 1 out of 8 hours is consumed in prime time? and b)Is TV usage for both non-prime time and prime time 35%?

    Just doesn't seem logical with so many 2-income families, smaller family size, non-TV diversions.

    1.1 hours of primetime implies about 30-35 cum Nielsen rating points for all TV. That seems on the high end but OK. Let's spread the other 7 hours over 14 hours (sleep, etc). That means higher CUM TV ratings in non-primetime!

    If you can answer this question I would appreciate it.

    Still learning.

  • wren

    Hmm

    I thought it was number of TV hours on per day per household not people * hours/avg. household.

    I am still dubious about the intensity of TV watching in non-prime time. a) Only 1 out of 8 hours is consumed in prime time? and b)Is TV usage for both non-prime time and prime time 35%?

    Just doesn’t seem logical with so many 2-income families, smaller family size, non-TV diversions.

    1.1 hours of primetime implies about 30-35 cum Nielsen rating points for all TV. That seems on the high end but OK. Let’s spread the other 7 hours over 14 hours (sleep, etc). That means higher CUM TV ratings in non-primetime!

    If you can answer this question I would appreciate it.

    Still learning.

  • Robert Seidman

    Not sure if this will clear it up or cloud it up — but what the heck, I'll give it a shot. It's not an apples to apples comparison between primetime viewing and total day. The total day stat just represents the “total average time” a house had a TV set tuned (multiple sets tuned increase the total average).

    The 1:10 minute figure IS for viewers not households. The household primetime figure was 1:52 (down from 1:54).

    The 8:14 figure is for households — the average time spent by viewer for the day was 4:34 (down from 4:35).

    Remember, “Viewer” here = anyone age 2 and over, and includes everyone watching Sponge Bob and Hannah Montanna, etc. age 2 and above.

  • Robert Seidman

    Not sure if this will clear it up or cloud it up — but what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. It’s not an apples to apples comparison between primetime viewing and total day. The total day stat just represents the “total average time” a house had a TV set tuned (multiple sets tuned increase the total average).

    The 1:10 minute figure IS for viewers not households. The household primetime figure was 1:52 (down from 1:54).

    The 8:14 figure is for households — the average time spent by viewer for the day was 4:34 (down from 4:35).

    Remember, “Viewer” here = anyone age 2 and over, and includes everyone watching Sponge Bob and Hannah Montanna, etc. age 2 and above.

  • wren again

    so to summarize primetime/rest of day = 1:10/(4:34-1:10) or 1/4 of all viewing is for primetime.

    thx….I think.

    Sociologically speaking it's amazing that changes in family size, women in the work force, non-TV entertainment outlets have had so little impact on viewership. I'd hypothesize that the “lower” demos are more representative of the daytime audience than they were when I was a kid watching TV…all the time.

    I am also interested in the impact on local station economics and audience demographics as higher income viers drain away to network direct (eg HULU) distribution. This doesn't seem like the audience that supports a high quality news product.

  • wren again

    so to summarize primetime/rest of day = 1:10/(4:34-1:10) or 1/4 of all viewing is for primetime.

    thx….I think.

    Sociologically speaking it’s amazing that changes in family size, women in the work force, non-TV entertainment outlets have had so little impact on viewership. I’d hypothesize that the “lower” demos are more representative of the daytime audience than they were when I was a kid watching TV…all the time.

    I am also interested in the impact on local station economics and audience demographics as higher income viers drain away to network direct (eg HULU) distribution. This doesn’t seem like the audience that supports a high quality news product.

  • http://ChinaEconomicReviewwww.chinaeconomicreview.com Gareth Powell

    These figures have always fascinated me and I have been conducting one person experiments. The difficulty is drawing the line between viewing television and having it on in the background. I have been in houses where there have been two televisions running and no one watching them.
    If the Neilsen figures say that is how long the television sets are switched on and active then they are probably right. But that does not mean people are actually viewing the television. I know of no scientific way of measuring that.

  • http://ChinaEconomicReviewwww.chinaeconomicreview.com Gareth Powell

    These figures have always fascinated me and I have been conducting one person experiments. The difficulty is drawing the line between viewing television and having it on in the background. I have been in houses where there have been two televisions running and no one watching them.
    If the Neilsen figures say that is how long the television sets are switched on and active then they are probably right. But that does not mean people are actually viewing the television. I know of no scientific way of measuring that.

  • Robert Seidman

    I would love to see “Time” broken out by age and economic demos too. I'm sure it exists, but unfortunately we don't have access to it.

    Gareth, other than retinal implants, I'm with you. People do many things while the TV is turned on — eat dinner, talk to family, talk on the phone, text message, surf the Internet. There's a lot of multi-tasking and it isn't a zero sum game.

  • Robert Seidman

    I would love to see “Time” broken out by age and economic demos too. I’m sure it exists, but unfortunately we don’t have access to it.

    Gareth, other than retinal implants, I’m with you. People do many things while the TV is turned on — eat dinner, talk to family, talk on the phone, text message, surf the Internet. There’s a lot of multi-tasking and it isn’t a zero sum game.

  • Bill Gorman

    Gareth, for this survey Nielsen uses the term “television tuning” so I do believe it includes all time a television is turned on.

    I do believe for their show ratings data they do have ways for folks to specify who is actually watching the show at the time, either via the people meter or via the diary.

  • Bill Gorman

    Gareth, for this survey Nielsen uses the term “television tuning” so I do believe it includes all time a television is turned on.

    I do believe for their show ratings data they do have ways for folks to specify who is actually watching the show at the time, either via the people meter or via the diary.

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