Blog Post

Smells Like Teen Media Usage (They Stick With TV)

Nielsen put out its How Teens Use Media report today, which, the research firm says, dispels some myths about the ways teenagers are using media. Bottom line: The kids still love their oldteevee.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, teens are not abandoning TV — in fact, they are watching it more than ever. Nielsen says that television viewing among teens is up 6 percent over the past five years.


In the fourth quarter of 2008, 92 percent of teens viewed live TV, 5 percent DVRs, and 3 percent online video streaming.

In fact, according to Nielsen, teens are watching less online video than older age groups. Twelve million U.S. teens watched online video in May 2009; that was a 10 percent year-over-year growth for that audience. The number of minutes teens spent watching online video jumped 79 percent to three hours and six minutes per month. While that’s nice growth, it’s less than the time spent by 18- to 24-year-olds (5:35), 25- to 34-year-olds (4:44), and those aged 35  to 44 (3:30). Though this is actually more of a function of how much access teens have, given how much time they spend in school.


One area where teens are actually exceeding expectations is with mobile video. Nielsen reports that teens make up 20 percent of the mobile video audience and watch more than the average user.

4 Responses to “Smells Like Teen Media Usage (They Stick With TV)”

  1. Clearly the TV remains the center of video entertainment in the home. The interesting thing here is that teens, like everyone else, will start demanding good internet content to supplement their cable/satellite content — they’ll just want it on the big TV. The TV manufacturers and cable/satellite companies who deliver that content (in a convenient intuitive way) will win. And if no one does it right, users will move to laptops and Boxee until the content comes to the TV. This is a huge potential market. The race is on.

    (Disclaimer – I work for Macrovision, who makes a lot of the guides you see on TVs and set-top boxes, and we’re working on the “merge the internet onto the big TV” problem.)