Joseph O’Halloran| 04 December 2014
Despite there being many more ways in which to view TV in the US, actual overall viewing decreased in 2014 according to Nielsen’s third-quarter Total Audience Report.
The survey, formerly known as the Cross-Platform Report, revealed an increasing use of such devices — in particular smartphones, tablets and the latest generation gaming consoles — have subsequently driven a change in consumers’ viewing habits. Nielsen says that such proliferation has meant that what used to be a schedule to watch programming now seems ‘like little more than a suggestion’ as US viewers can choose to watch live linear programming, video-on-demand, or through subscription services and apps, among other ways to tune in.
“Content is still king, but consumers are shaping their own content-discovery experience, and the evolving media landscape has not lessened consumer demand for quality, professionally-produced content,” explained Nielsen senior vice president Dounia Turrill. “What has changed is the number and reliability of new media available to viewers.”
Yet despite the increased amount of options to view, the report data also showed that the actual time spent on screen has fallen. Nielsen found that overall Americans spent a little more than 141 hours a month connecting with traditional television in Q3 2014. During the same period, the overall population also saw over an hour increase in time spent watching time-shifted content and a four-hour increase watching online video.
Average daily time spent watching live TV decreased 12 minutes from four hours and 44 minutes in the third-quarter of 2013 to four hours and 32 minutes a year later. Conversely, consumer’s daily time spent using a smartphone increased 23 minutes, from one hour and ten minutes to one hour and 33 minutes per day. Time-shifting content, either using a DVR or video-on-demand (VOD) technology, continues to resonate with consumers, and while still a small part of overall usage across platforms and devices, daily time spent using a multimedia device continues to climb.