The average US person spent just over 29 hours a week watching traditional and timeshifted television in Q3 2016, and just under 4 hours a week watching video on connected TVs, PCs, and smartphones. Here’s how the viewing breaks down by platform.
According to Nielsen, between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016 all the major video platforms increased the number of users, with the exception of the PC. The reach of the PC fell 3%, to 38%, over the period. Use of live television and DVRs inched up a scant percentage point, to 93%. The number of smartphone video users increased the most, up 13%, to 68%, with multimedia devices (connected television devices) close behind, increasing 8% to 30%.
Overall, those watching traditional television (live and DVR viewing), watched nearly 2% less per month in Q3 2016 than one year earlier. However, younger viewers continue to migrate away from TV far faster than their parents and grandparents. 18 to 24-year-olds watched 12% less, and 12 to 17-year-olds watched 11% less. People 50 and older watched slightly more.
Interestingly, those using timeshifting devices like DVRs watched significantly less, 7% down across all age groups. The fall in DVR usage in the young was profound. Among DVR users under 24, usage fell 16% between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016. It could be that on-demand online viewing is substituting from DVR usage in this age group.
Though there was a big drop in the number watching video on PC, those that continue to use it watched a lot more. Overall, those watching video on a PC increased their viewing an amazing 42%, to over 30 minutes per day.
The biggest increases in usage came from age groups most accustomed to using PC. A 50% increase was seen in PC video views in the age groups 25-34 and 35-49. Surprisingly, Nielsen says that the youngest children watching video on PC recorded the greatest increase: 75%. It should be noted, however, that reach of PC video among the very young is the lowest of any age group. Just 14% of 2 to 11-year-olds watch video on PC, compared to the average across all age groups of 38%.
It’s fair to say that every age group has now discovered the smartphone as a video platform. The average increase in viewing video on the smallest screen was 74%, to reach 3 hours and 49 minutes a month. The biggest increase was among the oldest Americans. Those 65 and older watched 124% more than Q3 2015. The biggest users, the 18 to 24-year-olds, increased usage 60%, to reach 6 hours and 12 minutes per month.
The TV screen continues to command the longest viewing times of all the connected devices. Those watching video on multimedia devices (smart TVs, streaming media players, and connected DVD players) are watching almost an hour per day (about 28 hours per month.) The group watching for the longest is the older millennials (25 to 34-year-olds), who watch for 34 hours and 19 minutes a month, an increase of 11% over last year. The biggest increase was seen in the youngest viewers, with 2 to 11-year-olds increasing connected TV consumption 20%.
Why it matters
Television viewing continues to decline, particularly among the under 25s.
The PC remains a popular video streaming option among users. Though there are fewer PC video viewers, those remaining watch for much longer than last year.
Connected television has become a lot more popular, and is watched longer than any other platform by users.
All age groups now use the smartphone to watch video, though viewing time remains relatively short.