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Online Video Viewing Up, Impact on TV “Negligible”

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Television is still king, despite gains being made online. That’s according to two separate research reports released today. Taken together, the studies from Nielsen and Leichtman Research Group (LRG) also help illustrate how newteeve is impacting oldteevee (hint: it isn’t).

In its A2/M2 Three Screen Report for the fourth quarter of 2008, Nielsen found that video consumption is up across all three video screens. In the U.S. each month the average TV watcher soaks in 151 hours of television (an all-time high), the average online video viewer watches some three hours’ worth of content on the web, and people who use mobile video watch almost four hours of video on their phones and other wireless devices.


The overall number of people watching video across the three screens is up as well, with the number of people watching time-shifted television jumping 37 percent year over year to stand at almost 74 million vs. nearly 54 million people in the fourth quarter of 2007.


Some of the other key takeaways from the Nielsen report include:

  • 31 percent of Internet activity occurs when consumers are also watching television.
  • At 7 hours, 11 minutes per month, timeshifted TV is watched at double the pace as video online. But young viewers (18-24) watch video on the Internet and on a DVR at the same rate: about 5 hours per month.
  • Men continue to watch video on mobile phones more than women, and women continue to watch video on the Internet and television more than men.
  • During the fourth quarter, growth of online video was driven by events such as election coverage and the SNL/Sarah Palin clips.
  • Weekdays outpaced weekends for online video viewing in October with 65% of online video viewers streaming content between 9am–5pm Monday through Friday, versus 51% of online video viewers logging on between 6am–8pm on weekends.
  • Despite the bad economy, the number of homes with DVRs continues to grow – more than 29% of U.S. homes are able to timeshift television, up from 27% in 3Q08.

Elsewhere, LRG came out with its own research, finding that 34 percent of adults who have online service at home view online video weekly, compared with the 31 percent who did so last year.

When it comes to the cable companies starting up their own online video services, LRG found that TV shows are low on the list of content that users watch online. Further, online video’s impact on TV watching and cable subscriptions has been “negligible.”

Key findings from the LRG study include:

  • Overall (including those not online), 1% of adults view recent TV shows online daily, and 8% weekly – compared to 6% weekly last year
  • Overall, 24% of adults report viewing a news clip online weekly, 20% view YouTube or other user-generated video online weekly, and 15% view sports news or highlights online weekly
  • 93% of adults with a TV report spending at least an hour a day, on average, watching TV, and 35% of adults spend at least four hours a day watching TV – similar to last year
  • 8% of adults who watch video online strongly agree that they now watch TV less often, while 75% strongly disagree
  • 18% of teens who watch video online strongly agree that they now watch TV less often, while 61% strongly disagree
  • Among all adults online, 3% strongly agree that they would consider disconnecting their TV service to just watch video online – compared to 4% last year
  • Those who watch recent TV shows online weekly are no more likely to consider disconnecting their TV subscription than others
  • While weekly online TV show viewers spend twice as much time online per day as the average adult, they are also more likely than average to subscribe to a premium service, have digital cable, use on-Demand, have an HDTV, and subscribe to a bundle of services from a single provider
  • Just 6% of those who watch recent TV shows online weekly are likely to switch from their multi-channel video provider – compared to 11% of others

It would have been nice if rather than just making clear who is hanging onto their cable subscriptions, LRG had shed some light as to why they’re doing so. We’ll need to keep an eye on these stats moving forward. Perhaps in these recessionary times, people see cable as a bargain.

26 Responses to “Online Video Viewing Up, Impact on TV “Negligible””

  1. Andrew

    I think that in the “Watching Tv at home” category, were included and the people who watch TV channels online via tv websites or directories like or others, and the results are not very relevant since a big part of those people watch tv channels via the Internet.

  2. I myself see a rise in the number of videos I watch online including videos of tv shows on sites like Hulu as a way of supplementing my tv viewing…often times I if miss a show I will watch it on my laptop on Hulu. But it still isn’t the same as sitting back and watching it on my big flat screen tv. I suppose if I could send the video to my tv with out having to hook up a bunch of wires, my use of online video services would probably increase drastically.

  3. Online video may not be putting a dent in Television viewership, and I don’t think anyone expects it to anytime soon, but it’s nice to see that it is gaining increasing views.

    I’m producing my own weekly web video show and knowing that more and more people are watching video online continues to be encouraging.