Time-Shifting TV Usage Rises in Second Half of 2010: Nielsen

Time-Shifting TV Usage Rises in Second Half of 2010: Nielsen

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Nielsen reported on TV usage for the second half of 2010 and found that Americans watched drastically more time-shifted television than before. Of the 154 hours of TV consumption a month, up to 30 hours a month were time-shifted. That’s roughly 25% of some demographics’ television viewing. Much of that was probably coupled with the skipping of commercials meaning that a portion of TV ad dollars are probably going to waste since the ads aren’t being seen as much as they were.In the third quarter of 2010, viewers aged 2 and older in homes with DVR Playback (114M) watched 23 hours and 58 minutes of time-shifted television content (viewing of recorded television programming up to seven days after broadcast). When you include all homes with TVs (with and without DVR playback, 293M) the average drops to 9 hours and 32 minutes. In the fourth quarter those numbers shifted even higher to 25:52 and 10:27.

The demographic watching the most time shifted was the 25-34-year-old group who watched 28:40 in Q3 and 30:59 in Q4. Following closely behind was the 50-64 demographics in Q3 who watched 27:32 and 30:37 in homes with DVRs. In all homes with TVs the 25-34 demographic also led in Q3 with 12:47 of viewing while in Q4 the 35-49 demographic took the lead with 13:52 and the 25-34 demographic was just behind them with 13:44.

The 50-64 demographics is the largest section of TV viewing with 23-24% while the 35-49 demographic accounts for 21-22% of the whole TV audience, 65+ equals 18% and 25-34 only 12%.

Advertisers Losing Out?

If you’re trying to target those demographics via television advertising you might be losing out. Most DVRs have ad skipping features or fast forward features that generally skip 30-60 seconds. As we know, per 10 hours of television viewing 3 hours of ads are shown. So if 30 hours of shows are being time-shifted, that’s a full 9 hours per month of ads that are not being seen. Since the average ad is 30-60 seconds that’s between 540 and 1080 advertisements skipped, per viewer, per month. That’s a lot of wasted ad money.

I’d be curious to see some numbers on ads missed, revenue spent on those ads, etc. It would certainly help those advertisers who rely heavily on TV to decide if they are really getting their money’s worth.  Of course, the broadcasters would try to squash to diminish that kind of report because, it would probably force down pricing or cause advertisers to move to other forms of advertising, especially when reports are showing that a combination of TV and online is a better mix and has more positive effects.

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