Time Spent Watching Traditional TV Up in Q1: Nielsen

Fewer people watched traditional television in the first quarter of 2013, compared to a year ago, as the number of subscriptions to multichannel services. However, more time was spent watching traditional TV in the period, according to Nielsen data.

In its new first quarter Cross Platform Report, Nielsen found that old-fashioned TV remains dominant while streaming and mobile video use is growing but still small in comparison.

“Still vibrant, traditional TV is thriving as viewers continue to go to their sets for entertainment and information that appeals to them. In fact, traditional TV viewing has grown year-over-year among the total population,” Dounia Turrill, Nielsen’s senior vice president of insight said in the report.

The number of people watching—or monthly reach—of traditional TV was 282.949 million, down from 283,302 in the first quarter of 2012. The number of people watching time-shifted TV rose to 166.088 million from 145.553 million.

Nielsen said the number of home with broadcast-only delivery in the first quarter rose to 11.173 million from 11.067 million a year ago. The number of wired cable homes fell to 57.161 million from 59.807 million, while satellite rose to 34.907 million homes from 34.567million and telco rose to 10.318 million.

That left the total number of multichannel homes at 102,386 millionin the quarter, down from 103,264 million, according to Nielsen.

As the popularity of mobile devices rises, computer use is declining. The number of people watching video on the Internet was 155.169 million in the quarter, down from 162.523 million, while the number of people watching video on a mobile phone jumped to 45.319 million from 35.957 million.

Time spent watching traditional TV increased slightly in the first quarter, to 157 hours and 32 minutes per month from 155:46 a year ago, according to Nielsen. Time spent watching time-shifted TV rose to 13:23 from 12:09. Use of DVD and Blu Ray devices dropped to 5:56 from 6:07.

The time spent watching video on the Internet jumped to 8:20 per month, while time spent screening video on a mobile phone rose to 4:29 from 5:01.

The group doing the most watching of video on mobile phones was younger viewers. Adults 18 to 24 watched 27 minutes of video on mobile phones per week. Teens 12 to 17 screened video for 25 minutes on their phones. Among adults 25 to 35, the total was 23 minutes per week. Video viewing on phones dropped to almost half that among adults 25-49, and fell even more sharply among older viewers.

Those young viewers still watch a lot of TV. Persons 18 to 24 watched 23: 24 of traditional TV. Time spent viewing traditional TV grew as viewers got older.

The group watching the most time-shifted TV was adults 35 to 49, who spent 3:42 per week on delayed programming. Those viewers also watched 34:18 in traditional TV.

Mobile consumption was part of the report for the first time in the first quarter. Nielsen found that smart phone users spent 87% of their Internet time using apps, versus 13 browsing the mobile web.

IPad users spent 76% of their Internet time on apps.

Social networking was the way most people spent time on their smart phones and tablets. Smart phone users spent 9:06 on social networks, compared to 1:15 on streaming video and 1:11 on getting sports updates and results.

Ipad users spent 3:41 on social networks, 1:48 on video and 50 minutes on sports.

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.