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TV Still Rules Among Three Screens

NEW YORK: People watch TV shows on TV more than any of the other screens measured by Nielsen in its quarterly Three Screen Report. The audience measurement company said folks watched TV at home an average of 129 hours and 16 minutes monthly. The total was 29 minutes less than a year ago, a decline attributed to last year’s Olympics in Beijing. TV viewing on TV still dominated time-shifted, Web and mobile watching. DVR viewing averaged 7 hours, 12 minutes--up one 1:14. Web watching averaged 3:24--up 53 minutes. Mobile viewing averaged 3:15 minutes--down 22 minutes.

Nielsen concluded that people are adding platforms and extending viewing time rather than dividing the same amount of attention to more screens. Weekly consumption was also measured for the first time in this iteration of Nielsen’s report. In 3Q09, the average American watched 31 hours of TV per week, with 31 minutes time-shifted. Americans on average spent four hours on the Internet, 22 minutes watching online video and three minutes watching mobile video each week.

There were some demographic differences. Teen-agers watched the most mobile video at seven hours a month. People 45-to-54 weren’t entirely unengaged, watching mobile video an average of three hours per month.

Nielsen identified trends in the quarter, including a surge in time-shifting during the first few weeks of September. Social networks are becoming a major force behind online viewing as well. Time spent viewing video on a social networking site increased 98 percent over last year, with much of the increase coming from older demos. Video viewing on social networking sites was up 37 percent among people 35 to 49; and up 47 percent among folks 65 and older.

More people overall are watching cell-phone video. For 3Q09, Nielsen counted 15.7 million tiny-screen viewers, up 53 percent from last year. The trend is expected to continue as more people adopt smart phones. Around 237.4 million people used cell phones in 3Q09. By comparison, nearly 283 million people watched TV at home during the quarter.

(Image from the Learning About Multimedia Project