Over-the Top Boosts Total TV Viewing in April: Wieser

Television use grew in April for the second straight month, thanks to a huge increase in viewing on connected devices.

Despite the talk during last week's upfront presentations about reducing commercial loads to advertisers, the amount of commercial content rose 2.4 percent in April to 11.1 minutes per hour,

Overall viewing was up 1 percent in April, according to an analysis of Nielsen data by Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group. Viewing was down, however, among adults 18 to 49, a key demographic for ad sales, by 3 percent.

Consumption on connected devices such as the Roku platform, Apple TV and Chromecast was up 38 percent from a year ago. Such over-the top viewing accounted for 9.7 percent of all viewing and 14.4 percent among adults 18 to 49.

 Viacom had the largest share of C3 commercial impressions at 15.6 percent, although that was down from 15.8 percent a year ago.  

Commercial impressions were down among viewers in the 18 to 49 demographic by 3.3 percent in primetime and by 6.4 percent in total day. Commercial impressions were up at Time Warner- and Disney-owned networks thanks largely to the NBA playoffs.

“Overall, our interpretation is that while TV in its totality may be relatively stable, results remain negative for ad-supported national TV as a medium, consistent with recent trends,” Wieser said.

“Viewing of unrated programming through internet-connected devices and of premium video on PCs, tablets and mobile phones [is] undoubtedly accounting for some of these declines, and probably would bring year-over-year trends closer to flat figures if related data were included in standard measures of viewership,” Wieser said, adding, “However, it doesn’t seem likely that this data will be included in any comprehensive, industry-wide total audience metric any time soon.”