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Urban TV viewing: Charlotte loves TV, San Francisco doesn’t

Urban US TV consumption 2015-2017

It’s easy to forget that there is great diversity in TV viewing around the US. For example, residents of Charlotte love TV and continue to watch live even as they adopt streaming. San Franciscans, on the other hand, just aren’t that into TV from any source.

According to the latest Local Watch Report from Nielsen, consumption of Live, time-shifted, and streamed television varies a great deal between cities. Here’s a look at live, time-shifted, and TV streaming in seven major markets.

Urban live TV usage varies greatly, is decreasing

Television consumption varies greatly among the major urban centers in the US. For example, citizens of Charlotte North Carolina watch 4 hours and 8 minutes of live television daily, while San Franciscans watch just 2 hours and 26 minutes. There is one thing each of the seven cities discussed agree on: they all decreased live consumption between November 2015 and November 2017.

Clevelanders watch 45 minutes less a day, a decrease of 16%. Dallas residents watch 41 minutes less, down 18%. Residents of Charlotte, however, still love live TV, decreasing viewership just 11 minutes of the same period.

 DVR usage declining

Viewers are not switching their live TV viewing for time-shifted consumption through DVRs and pay TV VOD systems. Except for Charlotte, citizens of each of the six other cities watched less time-shifted TV over the same period.

People from Chicago watched 46 minutes of time-shifted TV per day in November 2017, down 6 minutes over two years. Clevelanders watched 5 minutes less, or 51 minutes per day. Residents of Miami watched the least time-shifted TV, just 29 minutes per day (down 3 minutes over two years.)

DVR viewing minutes Urban US 2015-2017

Urban connected TV usage grows strongly

Viewers are transferring some of the lost live TV and DVR time to TV streaming. Dallas residents watch the most streamed TV, consuming an average of 35 minutes a day. In November 2015, they were streaming just 15 minutes per day. Miamians increased TV streaming 14 minutes per day over the same period, to reach 24 minutes per day. San Franciscans stream the least to their televisions, watching only 21 minutes per day, up 4 minutes over two years.

On average, the citizens of the seven cities watched 28 minutes less of live and time-shifted TV between November 2015 and 2017. The average increase in TV streaming minutes over the same period was 14 minutes. It is likely the missing 14 minutes, and perhaps more, transferred to mobile devices.

Connected TV streaming minutes Urban US 2015-2017

A closer look at TV streamers

The numbers discussed so far average viewership across all 25-54-year-olds in each city, whether they stream to the TV or not. To get a better idea of the behaviors of individuals, Nielsen also provides data on just those that stream to the TV.

Enabled streaming homes that are active Urban US 2017Of those urban homes that are TV-streaming enabled, average active monthly TV streamers were 78.6% in November 2017, up 7% from one year earlier. Cleveland and Dallas had the highest usage rates with 84% and 83% respectively. The lowest usage rate was seen in New York (75%.)

In each of the seven urban markets, the number of days per month people streamed to their TV increased. Cleveland and Charlotte’s residents streamed to their TVs 13 days in November 2017, an increase of 3 and two days respectively since November 2016. Once again, San Franciscans streamed to their TVs the least, just ten days per month.

In each of the urban markets, the length of time spent streaming per streaming day decreased slightly between November 2016 and 2017.  In Dallas, residents watch 2 hours and 53 minutes per streaming day, down 6 minutes per day over the previous year. Once again, San Franciscans streamed the least, watching 2 hours and 8 minutes per streaming.

However, in only one market – Charlotte NC – did TV streamers watch less monthly minutes than the previous year.

Why it matters

Urban consumption of live television is still relatively high, though falling in all major cities.

DVR and VOD time-shifted viewing is also falling in almost all markets.

TV streaming is growing strongly, though it is not compensating for the decline in regular television.

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