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Summary:

In what is being billed as “the largest and most extensive observational study of media usage ever conducted,” TV was still (by a long shot) found to be the dominant technology for video consumption, according to a Video Consumer Mapping study from the Nielsen-funded Council for […]

In what is being billed as “the largest and most extensive observational study of media usage ever conducted,” TV was still (by a long shot) found to be the dominant technology for video consumption, according to a Video Consumer Mapping study from the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence (CRE).

If that result sounds familiar, it should. The findings were in line with Nielsen’s recent three-screen report that found TV viewing at an all-time high. But unlike that and other reports based on surveys, this $3.5 million research project was done by actually observing 350 people going about their days. Observers had special devices that recorded consumer exposure to visual content across traditional television, computer, mobile and other screens during the spring and fall of 2008.

Two key findings from the study are worth highlighting here that reinforce previous research:

Contrary to some recent popular media coverage suggesting that more Americans are rediscovering “free TV” via the Internet, computer video tends to be quite small with an average time of just two minutes (a little more than 0.5 percent) a day.

Despite the proliferation of computers, video-capable mobile phones and similar devices, TV in the home still commands the greatest amount of viewing, even among those ages 18-24. Thus, in the eyes of the researchers, this appears to dispute a common belief that Internet video and mobile phone video exposure among that group (and the next one up, age 25-34) were significant in 2008.

Kids 18-24 do watch less live and DVR’d TV than other age groups, but the amount of TV they watch (209.9 minutes a day) still trumps what they watch on their computer (5.5 minutes a day) and via mobile (0.1 minutes per day).

If you want TV watchers, the CRE study says you should look to baby boomers (ages 45-54), who average 335.7 minutes (5.5 hours) a day of live TV and 19.4 minutes a day of DVR’d TV.

While we’re not disputing these findings (we’ve covered the cord-cutting myth), the online video landscape not only evolved quite a bit over the course of 2008, it’s changed just since the start of 2009. Between the the continued roll out of high-quality and HD streaming that makes online viewing more TV-like (or even on the TV), Hulu making big gains, and big events like Obama’s inauguration and March Madness rocking the online video world, even though these CRE findings were just released, now would actually be a good time to revisit the study.

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  1. [...] I’m surprised it hasn’t been picked up, and even more surprised that it’s being propagated by NewTeeVee. The problem with this statement is that television distributed via the Internet is an extremely [...]

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  2. something’s amiss in this data, probably in the definitions…

    They claim that college-aged kids are watching 3.5 hours of TV a day, and spending only 5.5 minutes a day on their computer and 6 seconds a day on mobile. Anyone who has been more than an hour with college-aged kids knows those numbers can’t be right, no matter what socio-economic strata or location they are from. The discrepancy between this data and reality is probably because they are narrowly defining/tracking video viewing. Kids (and others of all ages) are spending more and more time with their screens, but using them to play games, socialize, create, research, even read books, etc. So it is very likely true that most video is consumed via a TV, but it is unlikely that video/TV is the dominant activity for college-aged kids.

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    1. thats the amount of tv they watch on their computer, you idiot.

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  3. [...] The $3.5 million research project was done by actually observing 350 people going about their days. Observers had special devices that recorded consumer exposure to visual content during the spring and fall of 2008. [...]

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  4. [...] increasingly critical over whether their ratings are accurate. However, these latest stats reaffirm previous studies touting TV’s [...]

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  5. [...] distributors assure us that 99 percent of video is watched on a television screen, and a massive observational study concluded that people say they watch more online video than they actually do in order to sound [...]

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