“Consumers have never been more connected than they are today,” says Peter Katsingris, Senior Vice President, Nielsen Audience Insights. “Media consumption is no longer restricted to the living room but follows them wherever they go with the content of their choosing always within reach.”
With Americans now spending an astounding 11 hours per day using media, according to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, the stakes have never been higher for media companies and advertisers to ensure that their messages are reaching the right audiences at the right time on the right platform through the right device. Nielsen has been diligently measuring consumer usage to offer their clients a more accurate look at how today’s consumers are navigating their ever-growing media choices.
Katsingris and I recently discussed how all of this will impact the future of media.
Charlene Weisler: How can half of the average American's day be filled with consuming media? Certainly there is a lot of multi-tasking but what about de-duped usage?
Peter Katsingris: Within the 11 hours per day of media usage there is some amount of simultaneous usage across devices.
Weisler: Where is the greatest growth coming from? How will this impact future usage?
Katsingris: The greatest growth is among connected TV device use, whether it is the smart TV or other connected devices that enable streaming content to the TV set. Streaming will continue to grow as the way people consume content through the TV evolves. Additionally, digital device usage, particularly smartphones, is growing as consumers continue to personalize their media use. The options available to the consumer will result in a more on-demand, à la carte experience. Consumers can access media anywhere and through whatever device is most convenient to them at that time.
Weisler: TV looks to be consistently No. 1 in time usage. Do you see that continuing?
Katsingris: It’s often said that TV is dying, but our data paints a different picture. People spend a lot of time in front of the TV set, whether it is live or watching recorded content via DVR or on-demand or even a subscription service through a TV connected device. Linear TV viewing continues to remain a substantial portion of the overall share of media usage. But it varies by demographic. Younger adults spend less time with linear than older adults and television accounts for a smaller percentage of that time. However, they still watch television and will continue in one form or another.
Weisler: Younger viewers are consuming less live TV. What are the long term implications?
Katsingris: Younger generations have always been early adopters. With viewing content, early adoption means young people are engaging with platforms and devices that drive new habits. However, some of these new ways to connect still end up with a young consumer in front of a TV.
Weisler: How much streaming is happening to the TV?
Katsingris: Consumers are incrementally spending more time on the television set streaming content. Overall, based on the Q1 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report, half of adults 18+ are using connected TV devices (DVD/Blu-Ray, game console, internet connected devices, smart TV apps) to watch or use media content and that accounts for nearly 10 hours a week. Using Nielsen’s Streaming Meter, we have a more complete understanding of streaming that’s occurring to the TV set. What we see is that among homes that have that ability, one out of every 10 minutes for adults was streaming content to the television set. Younger consumers having a higher percent of streaming of overall total TV usage.
Weisler: Which devices are consumers using to stream to the TV?
Katsingris: Two-thirds of homes have the ability to stream content via internet enabled, connected TV devices like game consoles, smart TVs or internet-connected devices (i.e. Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Firestick). Teens are more likely to use game consoles to stream while older adults use a smart TV. Across all TV households, about one third only use a single device and another third use more than one device, indicating the multiple options consumers have. Typically, homes with multiple device use have a combination of a video game console with another streaming device.
Weisler: What are the overall SVOD trends that Nielsen's Total Audience Report uncovered?
Katsingris: The report focused on access to the three main subscription video on-demand services -- Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. More consumers have and continue to want access to these multiple channel(s) in their homes compared to last year. Among total households, access to these services is up to 64% of television homes in March 2018, from 58% a year ago. Similar to devices that enable streaming in the home, people have access to multiple services with 37% of television households having access to two or more of the services.
Weisler: How is SVOD impacting linear TV consumption?
Katsingris: It’s hard to look at SVOD in a vacuum because streaming encompasses a broad array of services, including SVOD, AVOD (advertising supported VOD) and virtual MVPDs like Sling TV and Hulu Live. An underappreciated impact of SVOD is that it exposes consumers to a different way of accessing content -- via menus -- as opposed to traditional channel surfing. This translates into adoption of products (e.g. VMVPDs) that provide those improved interfaces and easy app-based access. We are seeing that with homes subscribing to those services. Also, SVOD provides extra channels to choose from and when there is more choice, it impacts behavior and impacts traditional linear services. Prior research has shown that once someone acquires a device capable of streaming content, there is a change in traditional TV use. However, people will continue to watch the programs they like regardless of additional content services they subscribe to and use them to complement current behaviors.
Weisler: How can linear TV companies use SVOD to inform their business strategy?
Katsingris: I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “linear TV” company any longer. Every one of our clients has a cross-platform strategy to reach their consumer, wherever that consumer is. Last year we launched Nielsen SVOD content ratings. This allows our clients -- studios, networks and others -- to see how their SVOD programming is performing as well as how this content may be impacting their linear businesses or even help with decisions around scheduling and licensing.
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