We have analyzed trends associated with the use of television alongside commercial share trends for national media owners in the United States through the end of the calendar month of December 2016 (covering the period running from December 1 to December 31 rather than the broadcast month, which ran from November 28 to December 25). Complete data including time-shifted viewing and commercial impression data for this period became available from Nielsen on Tuesday.
Notable observations for the month of December include the following:
- Total use of television as we define it across all sources of content inputs was up by +0.4% on a total day basis for adults 18-49 during December and up by +0.8% among all households. Viewing of English-language broadcast networks and ad-supported cable was down by -3.5% for adults 18-49 and down by -0.9% for households, both on a total day basis. National TV commercial impressions delivered among adults 18-49 fell by only -0.7% year-over-year on a total day basis, and by -0.4% on a prime time-only basis.
- Consumption via internet-connected devices, including Roku, Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast rose by +66% year-over-year to account for 9.2% of total TV use among adults 18-49 on a total day basis vs. 5.6% in December 2015 and 3.0% in December 2014.
- National commercial loads across the industry rose to average 10.9 minutes per hour across all Nielsen-tracked programming during December 2016, up from 10.7 minutes per hour in December 2015 and 10.4 minutes per hour in December 2014. Most network groups increased or held constant their commercial loads during the month, with Scripps and Time Warner notably reducing loads across their networks.
- Viacom produced the largest share of C3 commercial impressions during December with a 15.4% adults 18-49 share among national media owners, vs. 15.3% during the year-ago period on slightly higher ad loads (14.8 minutes per hour in December 2016 vs. 14.3 minutes in December 2015). AMC posted the most significant gains, with 3.6% share in December 2016 vs. 2.9% in December 2015, while Time Warner saw the most significant declines, generating 10.0% of commercial share in December 2016 vs. 11.7% in December 2015.
- For the quarter, Comcast’s NBCU produced the most commercial impressions (14.7% of the national TV industry’s total in 4Q16, up from 14.4% in 4Q15). Fox posted the most significant gains, with 10.0% commercial share in 4Q16 vs. 9.1% in 4Q15 while Time Warner saw the most significant declines (with 10.6% of commercial share in 4Q16 vs. 11.6% in 4Q15)
Total use of TV is important to monitor as it provides investors with a relative sense of the health of the medium. While this data is incomplete in the sense that it excludes viewing of content on non-TV-based devices, going beyond network-level ratings and looking at aggregated sources of viewing helps to better analyze the relative importance of the medium to consumers. Commercial share data is important to monitor as networks with more available inventory to sell should generally capture a greater share of advertising budgets.
Additional commentary and data covering share data for different types of TV consumption and commercial viewing shares for different network groups are included in the remainder of this note.
FULL REPORT INCLUDING RISKS AND DISCLOSURES CAN BE FOUND HERE: TV Update 1-17-17.pdf
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