Nielsen: SVOD, DVR Penetration Now Equal

That’s just one of the findings of Nielsen’s Q1 2016 Total Audience Report. This year’s version also found U.S. adults spent 10 hours, 39 minutes a day consuming media in this year's first quarter. That's up an hour from a year ago, and it's a result of a substantial increase in smartphone and tablet usage. But it's a different story among millennials. Live plus time-shifted TV has remained relatively stable.

The growing business of subscription-based video on demand (SVOD) has been in the news a lot recently — be it networks looking to sell streaming rights of popular TV series or studios creating critically acclaimed offerings that move directly from studio to SVOD services. So knowing how consumers are adopting, interacting and using platforms and devices is paramount for the industry in order for players in this space to operate efficiently.

In light of these newer media, how are traditional media  faring?

Nielsen’s first-quarter 2016 Total Audience Report has some answers.

Live-plus-DVR/time-shifted TV remains the top video medium with 226 million adult users per month, second only to radio with 240 million. After TV are:

  • App/Web on a Smartphone — 191 million
  • Internet on a PC — 162 million
  • Time-shifted TV (DVR) — 158 million
  • Tablet — 106 million
  • DVD/Blu-Ray — 93 million
  • Game Console — 61 million
  • Multimedia Device — 60 million

With more streaming and on-demand video options, live TV viewing has dipped again. Average daily live TV viewing time shrank to 4 hours, 55 minutes in the first quarter from 5 hours, 10 minutes a year ago.

In addition, the report found that total media consumption among U.S. adults has increased with an additional hour of overall time spent being consumed per day over different devices and platforms as compared to the prior year.

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But the viewing numbers change with the demographic with millennials spending “nearly as much time using digital devices as a whole as they do watching TV,” the study said.

    Other TV findings include:

    • The share of live TV increases with age while the share of digital and TV-connected devices is highest among younger adults.
    • People 18-34 and 35-49 have about the same share of media usage going to digital.
    • More than half of overall time spent for blacks is spent with live TV.

    Steve Lanzano, president-CEO of TVB, had this to say about the report: “Nielsen’s Q1 2016 Total Audience Report indicates that the time adults 18-plus spend per day with tablets, smartphones and internet on the PC has increased by 59 minutes, about a 46% increase versus Q1 2015. But where is this additional hour coming from? Not from time spent with TV.

    “Live plus time-shifted TV has remained stable over the past year — 5 hours and 4 minutes as compared to last year’s 5 hours and 7 minutes, just a 3 minute difference. The fact is that people 18-plus still spend almost three times as much time with TV than with any other media platform.

    “No wonder more and more brands and advertisers are investing their marketing dollars back into traditional television, as TV-plus-digital packages have become tremendously more powerful than just stand-alone digital media buys.” 

    The report found that SVOD services have reached a milestone. For the first time, the U.S. penetration of these services has caught up to DVR penetration. In fact, half of all homes in the U.S. have access to SVOD services, such as Netflix or Hulu — equaling U.S. DVR penetration.

    SVOD penetration has been rising steadily over the past year, illustrating that viewers have a continued desire to control what they watch and when they watch it. And in many cases, that means more playback options is better. In fact, close to 30% of homes have a both DVR and access to SVOD — up nearly 20% from last year.

    Can there ever be too much of a good thing? For digital viewers, the answer is a resounding “No!” According to the report, the heaviest users of digital devices account for a vast majority of each device or platform’s overall usage.

    In fact, 83% of smartphone video viewing, 87% of in-home PC streaming and 71% of TV-connected device usage stems from the top 20% of users. This shows, Nielsen says, that smaller behaviors done by fewer persons tend to be more concentrated among the heaviest users.

    When looking at race/ethnicity, the same behaviors still ring true. Among Hispanics, the top 20% of users account for a whopping 92% of smartphone video viewing. Asian-Americans come in second with 89%, and blacks follow close behind at 88%.

    People are also spending more time with newer technologies. Daily usage of tablets and smartphones alone has increased 63% and 60%, respectively, among adults since just last year: tablet usage is up 12 minutes, and smartphone usage increased 37 minutes.

    Although the time spent using traditional devices like television has remained constant, consumer attention continues to expand. That’s not to say consumers are ignoring traditional forms of media–in fact, traditional platforms continue to account for the largest part of media usage.

    TV also topped the rankings of technology/services penetration:

    • HD TV — 94%, +4% from 1Q 2015
    • Smartphone — 81%, +10%
    • DVD — 77%, -3%
    • VOD — 64%, +4%
    • Tablet — 58%, +17%
    • DVR — 50%, +3%
    • SVOD — 50%, +19%
    • Game console — 44%, -4%
    • Multimedia device — 24%, +10%
    • Enabled smart TV — 23%, +43%

    Read the full report here.


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