Blog Post

Online Video Viewing Declines in Q1

Maybe online video viewing isn’t growing as quickly as we thought. In fact, if the most recent stats from Nielsen are to be believed, it might be declining. According to the audience measurement firm’s quarterly Three Screen Report, the amount of time people spent watching video online in the first quarter actually dropped from the end of last year.

Consumers were found to have watched, on average, 3 hours and 10 minutes of video per month in the first three months of 2010, down from 3 hours and 22 minutes in the prior quarter. Online video viewing was still up year-over-year, with consumers watching about 10 minutes more video online per month than during the first quarter of 2009.

The sequential decline in video viewing came along with a general decline in the total amount of time people spent on the Internet each month. Consumers on average spent 25 hours and 26 minutes using the Internet on a PC, according to Nielsen, down from 26 hours and 32 minutes in the fourth quarter and 29 hours and 15 minutes a year earlier.

Meanwhile, people watched more TV than ever before. The amount of TV viewing consumers did increased by two hours per month, topping off at 158 hours and 25 minutes, on average. That increase might have come as a result of more HDTVs in U.S. households. Nielsen claims that more than half of all U.S. homes now have an HDTV and an HD pay-TV subscription.

The amount of TV that people watched on a DVR also increased, to 9 hours and 36 minutes, from 8 hours and 22 minutes the year prior. That increase not surprisingly came as a result of more people having DVRs in their homes. Now more than a third of U.S. households have a DVR, according to Nielsen.

While Internet usage declined and TV usage increased, the amount of time consumers spent doing both simultaneously increased. Consumers now spend 3 hours and 41 minutes a month surfing the web while watching TV, up from 3 hours and 21 minutes the year prior. Simultaneous TV watching now makes up a third of all the time that people spend on the Internet.

Picture courtesy of Flickr user Marco Raaphorst.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: TV Apps: Evolution from Novelty to Mainstream (subscription required)

6 Responses to “Online Video Viewing Declines in Q1”

  1. Like you say: ” If Nielsen online stats are to be believed”

    YoY, Apr09-Apr10, Online video views in the US declined 9,2% to 9,4B?
    Comscore, YoY, Online video views, over the same period, rose from 17B to 30B.

    YouTube recently announced it crossed 2B views per day globally on a peakday, with 30% of views in the US
    – Nielsen however, reports only about 0,16B views per day for YouTube US?

    Facebook recently announced it crossed 2B views per month globally
    – Nielsen however, reports only about 0,11B views per month for Facebook US?

  2. We should expect statistics to be up and down. But statistics are not factual explanations. Statistics lie, guys. They are meant to be a scale, not a rule. Maybe the original analysis reported on these blogs was wrong. My guess on these numbers is that it’s content-driven. If you recall Sony’s hyped up show The Bannen Way, the show was not entertaining to people outside of the ‘web series’ crowd. I think when people go online and see how bad the material is, they realize it’s all hype and they leave.

  3. “Meanwhile, people watched more TV than ever before.”

    Is that in comparison to last month or last year?

    If last year, then no-brainer. If last month, then that would be surprising, and certainly not attributable to HD-TVs because it’s not like all new HD TV users came online in the last month.

    My feeling is that due to seasonality reasons (school finals, travel) the online video numbers are lower. Any other thoughts?

    • Ryan Lawler

      TV viewing increased over both the last quarter and the last year. Could be due to seasonality and strength of TV schedule in part, but at the same time it’s clear that people love watching TV.

      One thing I’d love to see Nielsen break out is amount of web video people watched on their TVs. But it may be early for that, yet.