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Online Video Consumers Watch Less TV

June 16, 2011

According to The Nielsen Co., Americans who watch the most video online tend to watch less TV.

The agency said Wednesday that starting last fall, it noticed a segment of consumers who were starting to make a trade-off between online video and regular TV.  The activity was more pronounced among people ages 18 to 34.

Nielsen polled about 2,600 people who said they watched videos online in the first three months of the year.  Those that watched the most video online consumed about 19 minutes a day, and watched the least amount of television.  Those that watched the least online video watched the most TV at 4 hours and 50 minutes.

Nielsen said this finding does not indicate that people are about to drop their TV services for video only online.  About 91 percent of TV households still paid for a TV subscription in the first quarter, and most of the charges had to do with people switching between cable, telephone and satellite companies.

TV viewing jumped up by 0.2 percent from a year ago to 158 hours and 47 minutes a month, while video watching on the Internet jumped 35 percent to 4 hours and 33 minutes per month.

Nielsen also found differences based on the ethnicity of audiences.

African-Americans watched the most of any ethnic group on TV and over mobile devices, with nearly 213 hours a month on TV and 6 hours and 30 minutes on mobile devices.  Asians watched the least TV at 100 hours and 25 minutes a month.

Hispanics were the most likely to have a smartphone followed by Asians at 48 percent.

Nielsen’s senior vice president of insights and analysis, Pat McDonough, said the study suggests that advertisers have to cast a wider net to make sure they are reaching the audiences they want.

“The real implication for advertisers is you need to think broadly,” she said in a statement. “You need to think about reaching people on the screen that they’re available on at that time.”

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