As television engagement declines, connected device usage becomes increasingly important. The size of the audience for each screen is growing, and users are watching longer and more frequently.
In its latest comparable metrics report, Nielsen shows that connected devices are able to deliver substantial video audiences. Television still reaches almost double the audience of any other screen, with an 88% reach. However, smartphone video now reaches 45% of US adults. Connected televisions (including smart TV, game consoles, and other TV connected devices) reach 44%, PC video 32%, and the tablet reaches 19%.
The Pew Research center says that two-thirds of Americans own at least two digital devices. It also says that 36% own all three. This data suggests the aggregate video audience for connected devices could meet, or even exceed, televisions reach.
Video Platform Reach
In terms of growing audience, the tablet leads. The number of people using a tablet to watch video in Q1 2016 grew 48% over Q1 2015, to reach 50M people. Smartphone video users also grew strongly, up 29% to 110M. The audience for connected television saw a much more modest growth, up just 5% to 106M. The television audience barely increased (up 1.5%) and the PC video audience declined strongly, down 10% to 78M.
Video Engagement by Platform
The growth of SVOD and other online video seems to be increasingly occupying the viewing time of consumers. Television viewers continue to watch the most through their device (397 minutes a day.) However, Nielsen says it is the only screen to show decline in how long people watch, down 2.5%. Consumers increased viewing through every other screen.
Tablet video viewers increased daily time spent the most, increasing 75% to 35 minutes per day. Though fewer people are watching video through the PC, those that still do are watching longer. They increased consumption 37% year-over-year, to 97 minutes per day. Smartphone video viewers also watched more, up 27% to 19 minutes per day.
Those that watch OTT video on TV increased consumption just 4%, to 145 minutes per day. This is surprisingly low. The primary platform upon which consumers watch SVOD services like Netflix and Hulu is the connected television. The penetration of SVOD continues to grow strongly overall. However, the Nielsen data suggests the time spent with the services is not growing nearly as fast. That said, it is still considerable. Connected TV users spend about a third of the time watching video on the device as those that watch video on a traditional television.
Frequency of viewing video on devices is also increasing, though far less strongly than other metrics. The tablet once again wins in terms of growth, with viewing frequency increasing from 2.6 times a week in Q1 2015 to 2.9 in Q1 2016 (up 10%). Connected TV viewing frequency increased 5%, to 3.5 times a week. Usage of smartphones to view video by users barely increased (up 1%), standing at 2.8 times a week. PC video viewers actually used the device slightly less, down 2% to 3.5 times a week.
All-in-all the Nielsen data emphasizes how important multiscreen delivery and monetization is to any video provide. Though tablet sales are slowing, the data also shows growth in usage for video is not. The tablet remains an important video viewing platform and should not be discounted.
Why it matters
Television still dominates the video screen market in terms of reach and engagement.
However, connected screens on aggregate can deliver similar sized audiences, and substantial engagement times.