More Watch TV Out of Home

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New York— More than one-third of TV viewers spend some part of their week watching TV at a location other than their own home, most typically in another person’s residence, according to an Arbitron study released last week.

During a presentation here, Arbitron officials said their survey rebutted several of the preconceived notions about out-of-home viewing, such as: It mostly takes place in bars and restaurants; it is mostly done by men; it is mostly sports viewing; and it doesn’t constitute that much viewing time.

“We want to do away with the myth. … People have misconceptions that it’s all a bunch of guys in bars watching sports,” said George Brady, senior manager of Arbitron Television Services.

The Arbitron study, conducted via phone calls to 2,500 people late last year, found that 35% of viewers age 12 and older, an estimated 88 million, had watched TV away from home during the past week. That’s a bigger number than the perception on Madison Avenue.

Ad agency and TV executives recently questioned by Arbitron, via an online questionnaire, believe that only 15% of viewers watch TV away from home, said Laura Ivey, project lead for Arbitron’s Cable Custom Studies.

Of the Arbitron out-of-home survey respondents, 25% watched TV at someone else’s home; 11% watched it at a restaurant or bar; 7% at work; 5% at a hotel/motel or vacation home; and 12% have watched at any other location away from home.

Those who watch TV away from home spend an average of two hours and seven minutes doing such viewing in a typical day, according to Arbitron.

The survey also found that sports does not dominate out-of-home viewing. Last week, as large a percentage of viewers watched a sporting event away from home (20%) as watched a local station’s newscast (19%) or a TV-series episode (18%).

Arbitron also found that women were almost as likely as men to watch TV in some place other than their homes last week.

The phone survey confirms the out-of-home viewing data that’s been collected by Arbitron’s Portable People Meter system in Houston.

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