neilsen+tv everywhereAmericans spend 98% of the average five hours per day that they watch video doing so on TV, a strong indication of how central the TV set remains in American life despite the rapid advent of alternative viewing screens and services, according to the Nielsen Cross-Platform Report.

HDTV set adoption jumped higher in 2011, increasing by more than 8 million to 80.2 million, according to Nielsen’s report. In addition, rapid adoption of alternative video consumer electronics (CE) and Internet viewing services is altering the nature of viewers’ TV watching, enabling them to “watch the video they want, whenever and wherever they want,”  Nielsen analysts note.

Live and time-shifted TV viewing, which Nielsen defines as “traditional” viewing, accounted for more than 33 hours per week of viewing time, a decline of 0.5% as compared to 4Q 2010. Alternatives to traditional TVs accounted for the difference.

Game consoles “have become strategically positioned as a secondary gateway to TV content,” states the report, which found that game consoles are now present in 45% of US homes, a 3% year-to-year increase. Game consoles now “perform double (and triple) duty,” Nielsen said, noting that the consoles are now able to tap into online streaming video services such as Netflix, as well as acting as Blu-ray players and supporting social gaming and e-commerce point-of-purchase.

In the small screen arena, smartphones have become “‘the best screen available’ while on the go,” according to Nielsen.  Some 33.5 million mobile phone owners watch video on their phones, 35.7% more than a year ago, indicating a shift toward watching video on a variety of screens.

Alternative screens and Internet-delivered video services are leading to the emergence of Cloud IPTV service providers, such as new market entrant nimbleTV, which now streams a “a full (paid for) channel line-up on the web,” independent of pay-TV operators such as cable companies, IPTV providers, and satellite TV distributors.

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