TV Usage Still Increasing, Particularly Time-shifting

Categories: TV Business,TV Ratings Reference

Written By

July 8th, 2008

Nielsen released a report today that shows that overall TV use by US households continued to increase in the year ending in May, 2008, particularly time-shifting which grew 56% year to year. We're tracking time-shifting on a weekly basis.

Nielsen's findings show that screen time of the average American continues to increase with TV users watching more TV than ever before (127 hrs, 15 min per month), while also spending 9% more time using the Internet (26 hrs, 26 min per month) from last year. At the same time, a small but growing number of Internet and mobile phone users are watching video online (2 hrs, 19 min per month), as well as using their cell phones to watch video (3 hrs, 15 min per month).

"Commercial television is alive and well - growing 1% year over year - despite the rapid adoption of other platforms," said John Burbank, chief marketing officer for The Nielsen Company. "Moreover, timeshifting represents less than 5% of total viewing."

Two hundred twenty million Americans have Internet access at home and/or work and 73%, or 162 million went online in May. Watching video on the Internet is no longer a novelty; 119 million unique viewers viewed 7.5 billion video streams in May 2008. In addition as of Q1 2008, 91 million Americans (36% of all mobile phone subscribers in the U.S.) owned a video-capable phone. 

"Web video is changing the definition of the Internet for those under the age of 24. Those under 24 use the Internet less than older users but spend a greater percent of time viewing video. For instance, children 2-11 spend relatively little time on the Internet - just 4:58 vs 38:47 for adults 35-44. But much more of their time is likely spent watching video than checking email or traditional websites." Burbank concluded.

Nielsen must be getting paid a lot by someone for tracking mobile video use. Note that all other figures are for the US population as a whole, but the mobile video is for "mobile video subscribers", which Nielsen notes number only about 4 million. Were that number to be for the US population as a whole, the average would be insignificant.

You can download a copy of the entire report here.


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