TV, Internet usage up 35% from a year ago

Americans increased their overall media usage and media multitasking according to The Nielsen Company’s latest Three Screen Report, which tracks consumption across TV, Internet and mobile phones.  In the last quarter of 2009, simultaneous use of the Internet while watching TV reached three and a half hours a month, up 35% from the previous quarter. Nearly 60% of TV viewers now use the Internet once a month while also watching TV.

“The rise in simultaneous use of the web and TV gives the viewer a unique on-screen and off-screen relationship with TV programming,” said Nielsen Company media product leader Matt O’Grady. “The initial fear was that Internet and mobile video and entertainment would slowly cannibalize traditional TV viewing, but the steady trend of increased TV viewership alongside expanded simultaneous usage argues something quite different.”

Persons 2+ Watching TV and Using the Internet Simultaneously

At Least Once Per Month At Home

Dec 2009 June 2009 Dec 2008 % Diff Yr to Yr
% of Persons Using TV/Internet Simultaneously 59.0% 56.9% 57.5% 2.7%
Estimated Number of Persons Using TV/Internet Simultaneously (000) 134,056 128,047 128,167 4.6%
Time Spent Simultaneously Using TV/Internet Per Person in Hours:Minutes 3:30 2:39 2:36 34.5%
Average % of TV time Panelists spent also using the Internet 3.1% 2.7% 2.4% 29.7%
Average % of Internet time Panelists spent also using TV 34.0% 27.9% 29.9% 13.9%
Source: The Nielsen Company

Behind The Rise in TV and DVR Use

Each week, on average, Americans watched roughly 35 hours of TV and two hours of timeshifted TV via a DVR. The growth in viewing is due to a number of factors:  The DVR brings added convenience while high definition programming and flatscreen TVs have boosted the quality of the experience.  Digital delivery, via cable or satellite, is delivering more channels and more choice to the home than ever before.

DVRs, now found in 35% of American households, continue to gain popularity. Those age 25-34 watch nearly three hours a week of timeshifted TV, while those age 65 and older watch just more than an hour.

Growth in Online and Mobile Viewing

Online video consumption is up 16% from last year. Of note, approximately 44% of all online video is being viewed in the workplace.  The research shows that Americans watch network programs online when they miss an episode or when a TV is not available.  Online video is used essentially like DVR and not typically a replacement for watching TV.

Active mobile video users grew by 57% from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2009, from 11.2 million to 17.6 million.  Much of this increase can be linked to the strong growth of smartphones in the marketplace.

“It seems that, for the foreseeable future at least, America’s love affair with the TV will continue unabashed,” said O’Grady. “We seem to have an almost insatiable appetite for media, with online and mobile programming only adding to it.”

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TV, Internet usage up 35% from a year ago