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MBPT Spotlight: Nielsen Report Finds VOD Viewers a Prime Audience For Advertisers

Marketers and the commercially supported television networks have reason to be more excited about the growth in video-on-demand viewing by consumers. VOD audiences are now being measured by Nielsen, and if the programming is watched within the first three days of original airing on TV, with the same commercials, those commercials can be included in live-plus-three-day commercial ratings, similar to DVR playback.

That proves to be more significant when you look at the demographics of viewers watching TV programming via VOD. A recent report by Nielsen, “Viewing On Demand—The Cross-Platform Report,” offers an in-depth look at who these VOD viewers are and what they are watching.

And that VOD audience, generally speaking, is younger and has a higher income than the live TV audience, according to survey numbers.

Slightly more kids 2-11 watch VOD than live TV—12% compared to 9%—but that’s to be expected with lots of kids network programming available on VOD and with younger kids preferring to watch some of the same shows over and over.

However, teens 12-17 make up 11% of the VOD audience, compared to 5% of the live TV viewing audience. And traditionally hard-to-reach millennial adults 18-34 make up 31% of the VOD audience, compared to 17% of the live TV viewers. Adults 35-49 comprise 23% of the VOD audience, compared to 20% of the live TV audience.

The one demographic that finds live TV viewership dwarfing VOD is 50-plus. Among that group, 23% watch VOD, while 48% of live TV watchers are 50-plus.

Looking at income, 31% of VOD watchers earn more than $100,000 per year, while 21% of live TV watchers do.

Among VOD viewers, 54% have kids, while 40% of live TV viewers do.

Most of the VOD viewing of TV programming among adults are movies, drama series and documentaries, with 52% of adults 18-34 who watch VOD tuning into movies, 26% watching dramas and 8% tuning into documentary-type programming. Among VOD watchers 50-plus, 42% watch movies, 34% watch dramas and 6% watch documentaries.

How does that compare to DVR viewers? Only 2% of DVR viewers 18-34 watch movies, 40% watch dramas and 17% watch documentaries. Among DVR viewers 50-plus, nearly none surveyed by Nielsen watch DVR movies, 51% watch dramas and 8% watch documentaries.

The Nielsen report found that set-top box VOD is found in about 60% of U.S. households, up from 37% in 2008. About 50% of U.S. homes have DVRs.

“Not only has access to VOD become much more user-friendly but networks have been more apt to experiment with recently telecast content and multiple episodes from the current season,” the report states.

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Marketers and networks are also happy about the VOD feature allowing the substitution of new commercials into content after three days of getting Nielsen credit for commercial ratings. This creates opportunities for new advertisers to reach a show’s VOD audience, and an additional revenue stream for networks. And the fast-forward device can be disabled, guaranteeing that commercials will be seen.

The rest of the report offers up a picture of how viewers watch TV across all platforms, by age and ethnic demographics.

For traditional TV, the older the demo, the more TV is watched on a weekly basis. Adults 18-24 watch an average of 21 hours and 32 minutes of traditional TV each week and that rises to 46 hours and 54 minutes among adults 65-plus. The median average watched by viewers each week is 31 hours and 47 minutes.

Among non-white TV viewers, African-Americans watch the most traditional TV, averaging 44 hours, 52 minutes per week, followed by Hispanics who watch 26 hours and 30 minutes per week. Asians watch an average 18 hours, 15 minutes of traditional TV per week.

Online video is mostly watched by adults 18-24 (1 hour, 24 minutes per week) and adults 25-34 (1 hour and 21 minutes). The same holds true for watching video on a mobile phone for adults 18-24 (30 minutes per week) and adults 25-34 (27 minutes).

As far as time spent on the Internet, the 35-49 age group edges out all others, averaging 6 hours and 21 minutes per week, compared to 6 hours and 17 minutes for adults 25-34 and 5 hours and 33 minutes for adults 50-64. The latter group actually spends more time online than the 18-24 year old demo group, which averages 4 hours and 58 minutes per week.