Americans Still Watch 99% Of Video On TVs: Nielsen

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Web video may be the buzz of the TV industry, but Americans still spend the vast majority of their time watching video -- approximately 99% -- on traditional televisions, according to Nielsen's latest "three screens" report released Monday.

In the third quarter, the average American spent 31 hours, 19 minutes per week watching traditional TV, compared with 31 minutes watching time-shifted TV, 22 minutes of Internet video and just 3 minutes on a mobile phone, according to Nielsen's Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2) Three Screen Report for the period.

Even among those 18-24 -- a cohort that typically consumes the most online video of any age group -- viewing is largely on TVs, with the demographic registering 22 hours, 44 minutes of traditional TV watching in the period compared with 35 minutes of Internet video and 19 minutes spent watching time-shifted TV. Nielsen's definition of "TV watching" includes live usage plus any playback viewing within the measurement period, while "time-shifted TV" is playback primarily on a DVR but includes playback from VOD, and services like Time Warner Cable's Start Over.

Nevertheless, video consumption among Web and DVR users is growing fast: On a monthly basis, minutes spent watching Internet video watching increased 35% in the third quarter and time-shifted TV viewing jumped 21%.

Last week, Nielsen stepped up its timetable for measuring Internet video consumption across its National People Meter sample of TV households, in response to industry demand for cross-platform viewing metrics.

In the third quarter, Nielsen said monthly TV viewing was down 29 minutes, or 0.4%, compared with the same period in 2008. Nielsen surmised last year's higher viewing numbers were driven by the Beijing Olympics and the U.S. presidential election.

Overall, Nielsen continues to maintain that usage across all three screens -- television, Internet and mobile -- is growing, and is therefore additive rather than cannibalistic.

"Americans today have an insatiable appetite for not only content, but also choice," Nic Covey, director of cross-platform insights at Nielsen, said in a statement. "Across all age groups, we see consumers adding the Internet and mobile devices to their media diet -- consuming media anytime and anywhere possible."

Nielsen reported average usage across 292 million Americans, whether or not they have the technology. The research firm estimates in the third quarter there were 282.9 million TV viewers in the U.S., 84.9 million DVR users, 138.2 million watching Internet video and 15.7 million watching mobile video.

The A2/M2 report for the third quarter 2009 can be downloaded from Nielsen's site here: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/3ScreenQ309_USrpt_12.07final.pdf

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