Home Online Video Not Killing TV, Says Nielsen

Online Video Not Killing TV, Says Nielsen

Earlier this month, we heard how online video was cannibalizing TV consumption, thanks to data coming out of an IBM study that polled people across six different countries worldwide. The study showed that 36% of people watched “significantly less” TV as a result of their online video viewing. This week, however, a report from Nielsen contradicts that study. Their “A2/M2 Three Screen Report” released yesterday shows that TV viewership isn’t declining at all…in fact, it’s at an all time high.

The new report from the media analysts at Nielsen found that video viewing across all three screens – TV, Internet, and mobile – increased from last year. As of the third quarter 2008, the average person in the U.S. watched approximately 142 hours of TV in one month. In addition, people who used the Internet were online 27 hours a month, and people who used a mobile phone spent 3 hours a month watching mobile video.

This year, TV viewing is even breaking records. The average time a U.S. home used a TV set during the 2007-08 television season was up to 8 hours and 18 minutes per day, a record high since Nielsen started measuring television in the 1950’s.

Since Nielsen only measures TV viewing in the U.S., that could explain the differences between their findings and those of the IBM study. Or perhaps the IBM study was just a little too subjective. A poll where you ask people to rate their own habits can’t compete with the cold, hard data that comes from the Nielsen boxes installed in thousands of homes across the U.S.

TV Execs, Remember: All Three Screens Are Doing Well

We’re glad that network TV isn’t going away anytime soon, but we’re concerned now that this report will give the ever-hesitant TV networks another reason to back away from making their videos available online. If they only hear the part about “TV viewing having a record year,” then they’re going to miss another very important aspect to this report: viewing has increased on all three screens. That means that even though TV viewing is an all-time high, both mobile viewing and online videos are seeing a surge as well. If anything, that should be a huge encouragement to the industry as it proves that, not only does online and mobile video not detract from TV viewing, there’s an opportunity to monetize all three screens for record amounts of income too.

Of course, that’s if you believe Nielsen’s numbers. IBM said otherwise. (Wait, IBM said? Since when is IBM an expert in TV?) Well, maybe the other counties IBM polled are behaving differently, but here in the U.S. it seems the TV is still king.

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