TV Viewing Erodes as Q1 Media Usage Increases

Americans spent more time consuming media during the first quarter, but watched less video, according to a new report from Nielsen.

Nielsen, in its Total Audience Report, attributes the drop in viewing to 2019 being a non-Olympic year and notes that while traditional live TV watching continues to erode, the amount of time spent streaming video on TV-connected devices was up 8 minutes to 54 minutes a week.

The gains in connected devices is the result of people replacing their old boob tube with smart sets preloaded with ways to connect to the growing number of streaming video options.

Cord-cutting continued. According to Nielsen the percentage of households with traditional pay-TV fell to 72.9% in June from 77.5% in June 2018. The multichannel universe got a boost from virtual MVPDs, which are now streaming into 5.2% of homes, up from 3.3% a year ago. Over-the-air homes grew to 13.3% from 13% and broadband only homes increased to 8.5% to 6.2%.

Homes with internet-enabled TV-connected devices jumped to 72% from 67% and homes with subscription VOD services rose to 70% from 65%.

“There is a correlation between access to internet-enabled TV-connected devices and subscription based video on demand (SVOD) services,” Nielsen noted in its report. “These are now available in seven out of 10 TV households, up from 65% in June 2018. SVOD services are also in nearly three out of four Hispanic and eight out of 10 Asian American households.”

Overall media time spent by adults rose to 11 hours and 27 minutes per day in the quarter, up from 11 minutes and 11:06 a year ago

Time with live TV fell to 3:53 from 4:10, with time-shifted TV declining two minutes to 34 minutes from 36 minutes.

People were using the web and apps on their smartphones and tablets more, as well as spending more time on internet-connected devices.

Time spent using media on smartphones rose to 3 hours and 1 minutes from 2:22 a year ago, while time spent on tablets grew to 50 minutes from 47 minutes. Internet connected device use climbed to 35 minutes from 26 minutes.

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.