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Nielsen: Almost 99 Percent of Video Watched on a TV Screen

Maybe Steve Jobs was right when he dismissed Amazon’s Kindle by stating bluntly that “people don’t read.” When would they find the time? According to Nielsen’s latest Three Screen Report, the average American watched 153 hours of television a month in the first quarter of 2009, a new all-time high, besting the previous quarter’s record. Nielsen also said that almost 99 percent of all video watched in the U.S. is done on a television.


How are we watching that remaining 1 percent? Well, online video viewing was up in the first quarter, as we watched an average of three hours of web video a month (up from 2:53 in the fourth quarter). Nielsen attributes the boost in online video viewership to big events like the Presidential Inauguration, March Madness and the Super Bowl. Time spent with mobile video was down slightly, however. Of those people watching mobile video, they watched 3:37 hours of it a month (down from 3:42).

DVR use is becoming more mainstay as well, with the number of time-shifted hours watched jumping 40 percent from the same time last year to more than eight hours per month.


Though the time spent watching video on TVs grew, the audience shrank slightly, dropping to 284.5 million in the first quarter of 2009 from 285.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. That was the exception, however, as audiences across other screens grew, with online video reaching 131.1 million in the first quarter, up from 123.2 million in the fourth quarter, and the mobile audience climbing to 13.4 million, up from 11.1 million.

Nielsen stats have come under fire recently in both the old and newteevee worlds. Online, Hulu expressed frustration over its audience numbers, and TV networks are increasingly critical over whether their ratings are accurate. However, these latest stats reaffirm previous studies touting TV’s strength.

9 Responses to “Nielsen: Almost 99 Percent of Video Watched on a TV Screen”

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  2. 99% of videos are NOT watched on a TV screen. Where on Earth did they get that number? Look at THEIR own stats. Watching TV (combining the first two stats) equals 161:40 and watching video on non-TV (combining “Watching video on internet” and “Mobile subscribers watching video on a Mobile Phone”) equals 32:52. That means that nearly 20% are NOT watching video on their TV screens.

    Just another example of Nielsen getting things wrong.