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TV Rules, New Nielsen Study Shows

NEW YORK: TV remains the top video platform in the country, the latest study shows, but ad dollars continue migrating to the Web.

A new study of video viewing from Nielsen indicated “young” baby boomers watched the most video and most of it on TV. “Young” in this case refers to people 45-to-54, while advertisers are typically 18-to-34-year-old males. However, the results indicated that “TV in the home still commands the greatest amount of viewing, even among those ages 18 to 24.”

The study was conducted by the Ball State University Center for Media Design in conjunction with Nielsen and Sequent Partners, over a one-year period at a cost of $3.5 million, Nielsen said. It comprised 952 hours of observation--the most extensive of its type according to the TV metric maker.

Researchers said the popularity of TV with 18-to-24s, “appears to dispute a common belief that Internet video and mobile phone video exposure among that group--and the next one up, age 25-to-34--were significant in 2008.”

Among key findings, the study said screen time was highest for people 45-54 at 9.5 hours daily, and about 8.5 hours for other demos. On average, TV watchers were exposed to an hour and 12 minutes of ads and promos on the medium.

Viewing outside the home accounted for less than 3 percent of total TV time among study participants. Out-of-home viewing is not taken into account in traditional Nielsen ratings, the metric by which advertisers buy TV time, and fewer are doing so according to spending trends.

Figures from the Television Bureau of Advertising show that ad spending on broadcast TV fell 5 percent in 2007 (the most recent year reported), compared to a near 16 percent jump on Internet spending. Most TV station groups reported a similar phenomenon in their 2008 financial results, though the growth of Internet spending across stations was not enough to offset the drop in TV avail revenue.-- Deborah D. McAdams