Nielsen: Time Watching Video Hit New Low in Q3 2020

Woman watching TV
(Image credit: Nielsen)

NEW YORK—Even amid stay-at-home orders, the average time U.S. adults spent watching video is continuing to drop. The latest Total Audience Report from Nielsen reveals that U.S. adults watched less video in the third quarter of 2020 than the same time period the year before.

Per the Nielsen report, Q3 2020 saw adults spending on average five hours and 21 minutes watching video across various devices. That is down from Q3 2019 when it was five hours and 22 minutes, as well as Q3 2018 when it was five hours and 24 minutes.

Live and time-shifted TV viewing is seeing the biggest dip in average viewing time. In Q3 2018, U.S. adults spent an average of four hours 13 minutes watching live and time-shifted TV per day. As of Q3 2020, that has dropped to three hours and 41 minutes per day.

(Image credit: Nielsen)

The weekly reach of live and time-shifted TV is also on the decline. In Q3 2020, live and time-shifted TV reached 80% of the total U.S. adult population, down four percentage points year-over-year. The biggest drop was among Hispanic adults (down seven points to 76%), while Asian Americans remained the lowest demographic, with it only reaching 65%. Blacks and Whites both came in at 81%, down six percentage points and four percentage points, respectively.

Meanwhile, TV connected devices (internet connected devices, DVDs or game consoles) have been on the upswing, going from 47 minutes per day in Q3 2018 to 55 minutes in Q3 2019 and reaching one hour and five minutes in Q3 2020, per Nielsen.

This growth is being fueled entirely by internet connected devices. While DVD devices and game console reach both decreased among all demographics, internet connected devices went up across the board by an average of five percentage points. Just under half (49%) of the population uses internet connected devices each week, with Asian Americans (54%) and Hispanics (52%) leading the way.

Nielsen also shows that the younger generation prefers watching on internet connected devices over live and time-shifted TV. Time spent watching via internet connected devices increased across all age groups in Q3 2020, but the 18-34 age group were the only ones to spend more time watching on internet connected devices (one hour 22 minute) than live and time-shifted TV (one hour 12 minute).

For more information, Nielsen’s full Total Audience Report is available for download via its website.