Nielsen: Connected Devices a ‘Constant Companion’ to 200 Million Consumers

Nielsen CGA

NEW YORK – Adults in the U.S. are spending an additional 30 minutes a day on connected devices compared to last year consuming media across platforms – digital, audio, and television. 

“These devices have become a constant companion to over 200 million consumers in the U.S. and this personalized entertainment is always at their fingertips,” Nielsen says in a statement from its 2017 second quarter total audience report. “For television, internet-enabled TV-connected devices allow consumers to stream content to their television set in addition to traditional television programming and are growing increasingly popular.”

For audio, Nielsen says a majority of AM/FM radio usage takes place away from the home while consumers are at work or in transit during their commute. For digital, the two largest categories for time spent across computers, smartphones, and tablets are entertainment and search engines/social networking. 

Another finding: as of June 2017, 58.7 percent of TV households (or 69.5 million TV households) own at least one internet-enabled device that is capable of streaming content to the television set. This includes an enabled multimedia device, an enabled smart TV, or an enabled video game console. 

Steve Sternberg, a columnist for MediaPost News, says after examining Nielsen’s total audience reports from the past three years, he’s found that for the first time, adults are spending more time with other screens than with traditional TV. 

“But that’s not because of a major decline in TV viewing, which was only down by 13 minutes per day over the past two years,” Sternberg says. “The amount of time spent with other screens, however, is up by nearly two hours per day over the same period, indicating a significant increase in screen multitasking while watching television.”

Sternberg says the amount of time adults spent watching all video was actually unchanged from last year, and up slightly versus two years ago. Traditional television declined by about 4 percent from last year, while time spent with video on other screens grew by 31 percent.

“This obviously varies considerably, depending on age,” he says. “Even among adults 18-24, overall video viewing is stable from a year ago, but traditional TV viewing is down by 16 percent – two hours, 22 minutes per week. This is compensated for by viewing video on other screens, which is up by 45 percent – two hours, 18 minutes per week.”

What does it all mean? Sternberg says people still like watching video content on a television set, and traditional TV is still by far the most-viewed screen among all age groups. 

But he adds, “Traditional TV’s lead over other screens is rapidly narrowing, particularly among younger viewers. On the other hand, total video viewing across all screens continues to rise. Content is still king. Research and audience measurement need to be increasingly nimble to keep up. Commercial audience measurement is still basically nowhere – not a good sign as commercial avoidance gets increasingly easier.”