TV Watching Hits Heights In Q4: Nielsen

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The average American viewer watched 151 hours of television per month in the fourth quarter of 2008 -- the most ever -- and time spent viewing video on the Internet and mobile devices also increased during the period, according to Nielsen figures released Monday.

Among the "three screens," TV remains vastly more popular for viewing video. TV viewing jumped dramatically in fourth quarter 2008, up from 140 hours in the prior-year period and the 145 the average viewer scanned in fourth quarter 2007.

Consumers who watch video over the Internet average three hours of online video per month and those who use mobile video watch almost four hours per month on mobile phones and other devices.

Nielsen also reported that DVR and other time-shifted television is watched at double the pace as video online at seven hours, 11 minutes per month.

However, in an indicator how TV-watching behavior is shifting, Nielsen also found that younger adults, those between the ages of 18 and 24, watch as much video on the Internet as they do on a DVR -- about five hours per month.

"Viewers appear to be choosing the best screen available for their video consumption, weighing a variety of factors, including convenience, quality and access," Nielsen vice chair Susan Whiting said, in a statement. "It is clear that TV remains the main vehicle for viewing video, although online and mobile platforms are an increasingly important complement to live home-based television."

Other findings from Nielsen's "three-screen" report:

* Traditional TV viewing, apart from a slight dip among teenagers, grows with age, with adults 65-plus watching the most -- an average of 207 hours and 29 minutes per month.

* Men continue to watch video on mobile phones more than women, while women continue to watch video on the Internet and television more than men.

* The workday continues to be the primetime for Internet video, with 65% of online video viewers streaming content weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., compared with 51% of online video viewers logging on between 6 am and 8 pm on weekends.

For more of Nielsen's Nielsen's fourth-quarter A2/M2 Three Screen Report, click here.

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