Nielsen: On-demand becoming the way to watch TV

Watching live TV is still a viable option, but on-demand viewing, and especially the ability for consumers to watch content "on their own terms," is now playing a major role in how U.S. viewers consume television, the latest research data from Nielsen said.

In its second-quarter "Cross-Platform Report," Nielsen said that set-tops with VOD capability can be found in about 60 percent of U.S. home--a marked increase from only five years ago, when only 37 percent of all homes had such capabilities. Ease of use, the researchers say, is a big factor in the increase, as is growing confidence among content providers that consume viewing habits will be tracked.

"Consumers initially found the interface difficult to use and program distributors were wary of delivering content outside of their window of monetization if the audience could not be reported," said Nielsen, which, not coincidentally, helped that along by providing VOD viewing measurement.

Surprisingly, Nielsen found that with a new wealth of programming available to them, consumers are primarily watching feature films across VOD.

"Feature films were the top VOD choice by genre among two very different consumers--the 18-34 and 50+ demos," the researchers said in a press release, adding that 52 percent of the programs viewed by the 18- to 24-year-old set were feature films.

Even as VOD has become easier to use and more content has become available, live TV content has seen a comeback, Nielsen also noted. Of course, there's a technological reason for that as well.

"DVR playback remains a popular way consumers watch content," the press release noted.

Whichever method is used--live, DVR or VOD--people are still watching an awful lot of content, said the company that makes its living monitoring that activity.

"In Q2 2013 the average American spent close to 39 hours per week engaging with content across all screens while logging four hours and 19 minutes of traditional TV daily," the press release concluded.

For more:
- Nielsen issued this press release

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