Nielsen sees growing impact of time-shifted TV viewing

The most recent Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, covering the third quarter of 2012, has added some beef and explanation to the ongoing belief that time-shifted TV viewing has altered the way people watch TV and, in turn, the way those viewing habits are chronicled. In short, it seems people are waiting longer to watch some content.

"With time and place-based shifted viewing, we have the power to bend time and space to our will," wrote Dounia Turrill, cross platform practice lead, in the introduction to the report. "Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, create portability that allows contact with content and entertainment at home or on-the-go while digital video recorders (DVRs) and expanded video-on-demand offerings allow us to meet the needs of our busy lives."

Which is all well and good until it comes time to itemize those hours, minutes and even seconds viewing video so advertisers and others who support the content monetarily have a payment foundation.

"Traditionally, appointment viewing by definition required viewing to occur at a specific time and place," Turrill pointed out.

This is still the case with some content, such as live sports, but today's more static content can, and is, viewed at least seven days after airing and, in the case of some science fiction content, even after that. Nielsen and advertisers have a pretty good handle on commercial viewing in the earlier time frame, but, Turrill said, the report's data goes beyond that and adds a bit of concrete to the previously theoretical "assumptions around how much viewing actually happens beyond seven days."

The results show that "while the vast majority of shows are in fact viewed within the first 7 days, a handful get a sizeable audience in days 8-29" with "just over five percent" of this viewing including "top 10 shows in broadcast and cable," the report said.

"In fact," Turrill added, "some of the top shows are adding up to an entire rating point in this expanded period... Each piece of the puzzle confirms that the consumer's thirst for content, entertainment and information continues to grow."

Overall, Americans used their TVs to watch about 34 hours of content per week during the third quarter, an increase of 78 minutes per week from the previous quarter for viewing of live and time-shifted content on a variety of devices, the report said.

For more:
- Nielsen issued this Cross-Platform Report (reg. req.)

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Nielsen: TV still dominates as media consumption device at home
Nielsen agrees to buy Arbitron for $1.26 billion

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