TV Sets Still Dominate Video... For Now

NEW YORK: TV remains the most popular platform for watching video, according to 27,000 folks polled by Nielsen. For now. The metric firm released the results of a online survey today examining how people around the world watch video.

“In an era of multiple viewing options, new technology has kept the living room relevant. In-home television remains the most widely used video screen around the world,” Nielsen’s study said. Globally, 90 percent of online consumers use their in-home television at least once per month.”

The United States--where TVs are in buses, taxis, bars, retail outlets and just about every public place imaginable--actually ranked 11th in reach at 97.2 percent. Taiwan placed tops, where TV reaches 99.4 percent of households. Greece, Philippines, Mexico, Indonesia, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary and Australia all had greater TV penetration than the United States.

The United States placed much higher in terms of average daily viewing times. People here watched TV an average of 5 hours and 4 minutes a day. Only folks in Serbia and Macedonia watched more.

Around a third of all respondents had adopted HDTV: “Ownership indexes highest amongst adults 55 to 59--a critical age at which consumers have the disposable income and more time to enjoy the finer things in life,” Nielsen said. ”High-definition TV adoption should continue at a steady pace. Globally, 11 percent of consumer told us they had definite interest in acquiring one in the next year.”

Two-thirds of the 27,000 said they watched video online. Usage was highest in China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Mobile video consumption varied most widely among measured platforms. Globally, 11 percent of Nielsen’s respondents watched TV or video on a mobile phone in March. Men were more likely than women to use mobile video, and younger folks indexed higher than the oldsters.

Europe and North America lag in mobile video adoption by 55 percent, Nielsen said, while Asia-Pacific online consumers are 45 percent more likely to use mobile video.

“Often the lag of mobile media adoption in North America and Europe is attributed to the advanced mobile cultures in comparative markets, but... the proliferation of other screen choices also impacts relative mobile video consumption,” the firm said. “Slower mobile video adoption in North America and Europe may as much be attributed to the technological advancement and ubiquity of other screens... as it is to the proliferation of mobile technology in more advanced mobile media markets.”

Nielsen initiated three-screen analyses to accommodate TV, online and mobile video, but it won’t be sufficient with new platforms emerging.

“At the beginning of 2010, analysts aplenty were speaking about the tablet and a screen void it would fill between TV, PC and mobile,” Nielsen said. “With the successful introduction of the iPad, it is clear to many that this technology has arrived.What is less clear is consumer interest in filling that screen void.”

Eleven percent of those surveyed said they either owned a tablet PC or had “definite interest” in owning one. Around 12 percent either owned or had such interest in owning a 3DTV set. Interest and intent was highest among those 25 to 29; and higher in the Middle East-Africa-Pakistan region and Latin American markets than in Europe and North America.

Internet-connected TV trumped 3DTV in popularity. Nearly one in five polled folks--22 percent--said they had a broadband-enabled TV set or intended to buy one.

“Today, much of the content these consumers will access through their connected TVs will be through a walled garden: Widgets and apps that make video clips, sports scores, social networks and streaming music available in limited ways,” Nielsen said. “As connected TVs open up, though, the availability of full Web content and streaming video on the household’s largest, best screen could blur the line between TV and PC.”
-- Deborah D. McAdams
(Image by Carola Jacobs)

How People Watch: A Global Nielsen Consumer Report