The TV Remains the Dominant Screen for Video Viewing

June 1, 2017

Mobile video may be growing in popularity, but TV continues to be the top dog for video consumption. To wit, during the fourth quarter of 2016, American adults spent more than 90% of their video viewing time watching content on a TV screen, according to Nielsen. The vast majority of that time, in turn, was spent with linear TV.

Overall, some 82.1% of video viewing time in Q4 was TV viewing on a linear TV, per the report. This data comes on the heels of comScore research indicating that among households with both traditional TV and OTT, the former rules the roost in terms of time spent. Indeed, in December 2016, for every hour these households spent watching OTT, they spent almost 5-and-a-half hours with live TV.

As mentioned in our ongoing analysis of TV viewing trends, TV-connected devices appear to be a bigger threat to steal time from traditional TV than mobile devices. These devices – such as Apple TV and Roku – are becoming more influential in TV Everywhere screen time and in premium digital video viewing too.

The latest data from Nielsen confirms the appeal of TV-connected devices: adults spent more of their total video viewing time with these devices (10.3%) than with PC video (5.1%), smartphone video (1.8%) and tablet video (0.7%) combined.

What About Millennials?

Using Nielsen’s data, we ran the same analysis, this time specific to 18-34-year-olds, who have abandoned traditional TV at a much faster rate than the older population.

The bottom line? The TV screen – including linear TV – still dominates screen time for youth, also. Predictably, though, it’s not to the same extent as with the broader adult population, as digital devices play a greater role.

Here’s how those results broke out:

  • Linear TV: 62%
  • TV-Connected Devices: 23.4%
  • PC Video: 9.2%
  • Smartphone Video: 3.9%
  • Tablet Video: 1.5%

Note that almost one-quarter of Millennials’ video viewing time in Q4 was spent with TV-connected devices!


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