The Nielsen Company is at it again. Forever reporting on the trends that describe our media-related behaviors, they have released data revealing just how much time we spend looking at television screens, computer screens and other screens about town.
As it turns out, and as we're sure our gentle readers already know, Internet video is not just a pretty face. It actually appeals to many and Nielsen has the numbers to prove it.
The average American spent 127 hours of time with TV in May, up from 121 hours in May 2007; and 26 hours on the Internet, up from 24 hours last year. More than 282 million people watch television in a given month and nearly 162 million use the Internet. Two-thirds of Internet users in the United States, 119 million people, watched video in May.
Though it pales in comparison to TV viewership, the 2 hours and 19 minutes a month on average spent watching online videos is dramatic. With over 7.5 billion streams and 16.4 billion minutes in total, it could amount to new advertising time for the taking.
With mobile markets opening up, mobile video viewing is becoming significant. The Nielsen survey of about 2,000 Americans projected that 4.4 million subscribe to mobile video on their phones.
Even with 217 million people carrying mobile phones in the U.S, the days of mainstream wireless video has not yet evolved. Yet with the average user watching 3 hours and 15 minutes a month, it's a "significant amount of time to be watching such a comparatively small screen".
Neilsen will release its “three-screen” report quarterly in an effort to compile a complete picture of consumers’ media habits. The reports are in response to a growing demand from television networks and Web site managers as they try to better understand the impact and relationships between TV sets, computer screens and mobile devices.
An ongoing battle from the beginning -- quantifying the value and return on investment of such online media advertising efforts -- measuring "consumer behavior in an age of convergence" is just as tricky. At present, Nielsen combines its television ratings data and Internet video measurements to show how the two platforms influence each other.
Sensing the tension among television executives, fearing that they are losing viewers to online, and among advertisers, who are fearful that their dollars aren't generating enough revenue from users, Neilsen offers both a sense of relief.
For every hour of online video viewing, consumers spend 57 hours watching TV. Yet, at the same time, the Nielsen data shows how pervasive online video is becoming in the lives of younger consumers. Children ages 2 to 11 use the Internet far less than other age groups, but they spend almost one-third of their online time watching videos. Television executives need not to fret about the present, but more about the future. What will the numbers look like when those children are adults?