TV Still the Dominant Video Viewing Medium; Mobile on the Rise

September 12, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Boomers & Older | Hispanic | Media & Entertainment | Men | Mobile Phone | Television | Women | Youth & Gen X

The vast majority of Americans (283.3 million) watched TV in their homes in Q1, more than 1.5 times the number (162.5 million) who watched video online, according to [download page] Nielsen’s latest cross-platform report, released in September. Although the number of Americans watching TV in their homes or video on the internet dropped slightly quarter-over-quarter, the number of mobile subscribers watching video on their mobile phone grew by 7.3%. On a year-over-year basis, the mobile video viewing audience grew by an impressive 25.9%, while the TV audience dropped by 1.8%. The report notes that due to a change in methodology, year-over-year comparisons cannot be performed for the internet metric.

Time-Shifted TV Bucks Trend, Grows Quickly

Details from Nielsen’s report indicate that while TV’s overall audience appears to have reached a plateau, the number of Americans watching timeshifted TV is on the rise. In Q1 2012, 145.5 million watched time-shifted TV, up 1.2% from Q4 2011, but representing a more impressive 8.9% rise on a year-over-year basis.

That increased audience is translating into greater average time spent with DVR playback. The report finds that the average American spent 24 minutes per day watching DVR content in Q1, up from 21 minutes in Q1 of 2011, and double the time from Q1 2008 (12 minutes).

On a monthly basis during Q1, the average time spent watching time-shifted TV rose to 12 hours and 9 minutes, up 12.8% from 10 hours and 46 minutes a year earlier. Average time spent watching video on the internet (per user) was 5 hours and 24 minutes, while mobile subscribers spent an average of 5 hours and 1 minutes watching video on their devices.

Traditional TV viewing saw a modest decrease of 3 hours and 1 minutes per month from Q1 2011, though monthly consumption was up by more than 2 hours on average compared to the preceding quarter.

2 in 3 Mobile Video Viewers Under 35

According to the Nielsen study, the 25-34 demographic accounted for a plurality (30%) of the mobile subscriber video viewing population in Q1, while the 12-17 (12%) and 18-24 (23%) brackets accounted for a combined 35% share.

The 35-49 demographic represented 24% of the mobile video viewing population. This bracket had a higher density among online video viewers, accounting for 27% share, ahead of 50-64-year-olds (23%) and 25-34-year-olds (17%).

Among mobile subscribers, 12-17-year-olds spent the most time watching video on their devices, at 7 hours and 47 minutes per month, followed closely by 18-24-year-olds (7 hours and 35 minutes), with a big drop in consumption to the next-highest group, 25-34-year-olds (4 hours and 53 minutes).

Online video viewing consumption trended slightly older: among those watching video on the internet, 18-24-year-olds spent the most time (9 hours and 38 minutes), followed by 25-34-year-olds (7 hours and 9 minutes).

Video Consumption Varies by Race, Ethnicity

When sorting by ethnicity and race, some significant differences emerge: African-Americans watched more than double the amount of TV (210 hours per month) than Asians (100 hours), while whites spent the most time watching DVR playback (almost 26 hours per month) and timeshifted TV (roughly 13 and a half hours per month). Asians spent by far the most amount of time watching video on the internet (roughly 10 hours per month), while Hispanic mobile subscribers spent the most time watching video on their mobile phones (5 hours and 17 minutes).

Although adults aged over 65 made up only 19% of the TV viewing population, behind the 50-64 demographic (25%) and 35-49 group (21%), they spent far and away the most time watching TV, at more than 220 hours per month. By comparison, the 25-34 demographic spent roughly 136.5 hours per month watching TV, while the 12-17 age group spent the least amount of time, at just over 101 hours.

Females across all age categories watched more TV than males, with the 50+ demographic leading at more than 215 hours per month. By contrast, males across all age demographics watched more video on the internet, led by the 18-49 group, at 7 hours and 42 minutes per month. Women spent more time than men watching video on mobile phones (5:21 vs. 4:44).


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