Digital Viewing Up, Linear TV Viewing Down, Says Nielsen (Again)

/ Dec 3, 2014

online video terms to die

Nielsen’s “Total Audience Report” is the latest research to tout the growth of online video and the decline of linear TV viewing. In fact it’s the second Nielsen report in the past four months to say that.

Nevertheless, traditional TV viewing hours are still going down. During Q3 2014, TV viewership averaged over 141 hours per month, per person. That’s six hours less than what Americans watched in Q3 of last year (a roughly 4% decrease). Meanwhile, online streaming video viewing has increased by about 60% in the same time frame.

However, it’s worth noting that this massive increase in digital viewing rose from about seven hours a month to just under 11 since the previous year, so it still has a long way to go to catch up to traditional television. And within the context of this report, “online video” includes viewership of TV shows and movies on streaming platforms.

Yet there’s no denying that digital has become important to the entertainment industry. Acknowledging that, Nielsen has been trying to include digital viewing as part of its standard ratings practice. The company is also working on a unified “digital content rating” that encompasses all type of content on digital platforms. It also recently leaked plans to measure TV shows and movies on SVOD services like Netflix and Amazon.

“Our goal is to create a total measurement of all content and all ads — regardless of how they are accessed and the ad model that they’re supporting,” said Dounia Turrill, SVP at Nielsen, in the report.

This will become even more important as viewing on mobile video continues to grow. According to Nielsen, viewing time on mobile phones also went up since 2013. The increase was less dramatic than the general streaming video category, though, rising nearly 25% since 2013 with just 21 extra minutes tacked on to last year’s count of 1:46 hours of smartphone viewing per month.

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