Nielsen: Smaller Drop in Live Viewing in 3Q

The decline in live TV viewing slowed in the third quarter, according to a new report by Nielsen, which also shows the number of TV households dropping as more people add streaming services.

The amount of time people spent watching live TV per day dropped by one minute to 4 hours and 6 minutes in the third quarter from 3Q 2015, according to Nielsen’s third-quarter Total Audience Report. The amount of time spent with DVRs and time-shifted TV, rose by that same amount to 29 minutes from 28 minutes.

In the second quarter, live viewing dropped two minutes. A year ago in the third quarter, there was a bigger drop of 6 minutes to 4 hours and 13 minutes.

Time spent using an app on a smartphone rose to 2:10 from 1:14 a year ago. Some of the growth was the result of a change Nielsen made to the way it credits mobile use.

The number of TV households with subscription video-on-demand services, such as Netflix, rose to 54% in the third quarter of 2016 from 46% a year earlier. But SVOD had only a small rise from 53% in the second quarter.

Homes with smartphones rose to 84% from 78% and homes with tablets rose to 61% from 54%.

Meanwhile, the number of households subscribing to pay-TV fell 1.8% to 98.2 million from 100 million a year ago. In the second quarter, Nielsen said there were 98.7 million pay-TV homes.

The decline in pay-TV homes has been closely watched because of concerns that cord cutting and cord shaving are cutting into the distribution revenue generated by programmers.

The number of broadband-only homes rose 27% to 4.6 million from 3.6 million. Broadcast only homes rose 12% to 14.3 million from 12.8 million.

Wired cable homes rose slightly to 52.8 million homes from 52.3 million homes and satellite rose to 35 million homes from 34.6 million homes. Telco dropped to 10.8 million from 13.5 million as Dish was involved in a number of carriage disputes with programmers, and AT&T worked to shift subscribers from its U-verse platform to DirecTV.

While putting together its third-quarter report, Nielsen said it focused on moms, the 25.1 million women 18-49 living in their own home with children under 12 years old. Nielsen divided these women into working moms and stay-at-home moms.

“In this report, we look at the effects of age and number of children on these two groups. We provide an extensive profile of working and stay-at-home moms — their income, education, home status, urbanicity and race/origin. We provide data on their technology ownership and media behaviors, across TV, radio and digital media,” said Glenn Enoch, senior VP, audience insights at Nielsen.

“For example, stay-at-home moms spend more time with the TV screen (both live TV and OTT devices), while working moms spend more time listening to radio. Among those who use digital devices, stay-at-home moms spend more time with PCs, smartphones, and tablets,” Enoch said.

Nielsen says that 39% of all women 18-49 are moms. Of those, 26% are stay-at-home moms and 74% are working moms. Among millennial women, 33% are moms, and 29% of those stay at home while 71% work.

The median income for moms is $62,000 per year. For working moms, the median income is $67,000, compared to $50,000 for stay-at-home moms. Working moms are more likely to be college grads and living in a single family home.

Working moms are more affluent and therefore are more likely to be in high-tech homes. They are more likely to have a high-speed internet connection (broadband), a PC, and a tablet, Nielsen says. They are also more likely to have a DVR and subscription video on demand, both of which offer additional alternatives for viewing content on demand for these moms that spend more time out of the home.

Stay-at-home moms spend more time watching TV, averaging 32:40 per week compared to 26:10 for working moms. Working moms listen to more radio, averaging 13:45, compared to stay at home moms, who average 12:07.

Both stay-at-home moms and working moms spend 70% of the time they spend consuming media with live TV. Working moms spent slightly more of their time on DVRs and time-shifted TV at 12%, compared to 11% for stay-at-home moms.

Despite having more devices and services available to them, working moms are more likely to watch only traditional TV on an average day when they turn on the television set. They are more likely to be multichannel subscribers and have more content available to them through traditional means, the Nielsen report says.

Stay-at-home moms are more likely to incorporate a device into the mix of things they are doing on an average day. They are also slightly more likely to use only a device on a given usage day (11%), the report adds.

NOTE: The number of pay-TV homes was incorrect in an earlier version of this story. The correct number for the third quarter of 2016 is 98.2 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.