Live TV Viewing Drops as SVOD Services Gain

With traditional pay-TV subscribers declining and the number of home subscribing to streaming video-on-demand rising, time spent watching live TV dropped sharply in the second quarter.

According to Nielsen’s Second-Quarter Audience Report, cord-cutting continues, and digital devices and services are becoming more common. Nielsen has been moving to a total-audience approach to capture viewing on different platforms and gadgets, as well the eyeballs still watching TV via broadcast and cable.

Live viewing fell 6% to 3:55 hours per day from 4:09 in the same quarter a year ago among people 18 years and older, the report said. The Q2 2016 figure was down only slightly from 2015, which was 4:11.

Time-shifted TV was up to 32 minutes per day from 30 minutes a year ago.

Showing a big jump was the use of apps and the web on smartphones, which occupied 2:27 per day in the quarter, up from 1:43 a year ago and 1:09 in 2015.

The Nielsen report noted that as of June, 58.7% of TV households have at least one enabled device, up from 52.2% a year earlier. There are 6.5 million homes—representing 5.5% of the U.S.—that have a smart TV, a multimedia device and a connected game console.

Related: Study Finds SVOD Still Picking Up Steam

As a result adults in the U.S. are spending an additional half hour more a day compared with last year connected to media across platforms, noted Peter Katsingris, senior VP of audience insights at Nielsen.

Nielsen said that in the second quarter, 59% of homes had a subscription VOD service, such as Netflix (pictured), up from 53% a year ago.

Meanwhile, total multichannel homes, including virtual providers, was down 1% to 97.9 million from 98.7 million a year ago, when virtual MVPDs weren’t being counted.

Broadcast-only homes were up to 15.7 million homes, compared with 13.6 million a year ago and broadband-only homes were up to 5.9 million from 4.1 million.

Wired cable was down to 51.8 million from 53.4 million a year ago; satellite was up to 35.3 million from 34.1 million; and telco dipped to 9.7 million homes from 11.2 million.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.