Americans watch yet more TV, Nielsen reports

Mon, 02/23/2009 - 7:10am
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – Americans watched more television than ever in the fourth quarter, The Nielsen Co. reported Monday, even though the Internet is providing another way to watch.

According to Nielsen’s “A2/M2 Three Screen Report” for the fourth quarter of 2008, the average American older than 2 years watched television for 151 hours per month. That was up from 146 hours in the same period the previous year.

More watching of recorded TV explained some of the increase: that was up to 7 hours from 5 hours the year before. That included digital video recorders (DVRs) like TiVo and "Start Over" features offered by some cable companies.

Among those who watch video on the Internet and on cell phones, the time spent viewing increased from the third quarter, but at much lower levels. The average user of Internet video spent 2 hours and 53 minutes on that per month, Nielsen said.

The number of people watching video on their phones was up 9 percent for the quarter, with the amount of time spent watching mobile video up by 2 percent. Teenage users aged 13 to 17 spent more than six-and-a-half hours per month watching video from their phones, nearly twice as much as any other group. While there are many more mobile video users in the 25 to 34 age demographic, the average viewing time per month was less than four hours.

Males make up 63 percent of the mobile video market, Nielsen’s report found. The male-dominated mobile video audience can be attributed to the content, according to Roger Entner, head of Telecom Research at Nielsen. “General mobile data usage actually trends towards females, but mobile video content is driven by news and sports, which appeals to males.” Women are slightly ahead of men for TV and Internet viewing.

The growth of mobile Web access and an increase in mobile content are contributing to the growth of the mobile video market, according to Nielsen.

The full “A2M2 Three Screen Report” is available here.

In a separate report out Monday, Leichtman Research Group said that only 1 percent of adults view recent TV shows online daily, and that they're no more likely to consider disconnecting their TV subscriptions.

Leichtman's findings were based on a survey of 1,250 households last year.

– Wireless Week’s Luke Simpson contributed to this report

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