Video Games Cutting Into TV Viewing

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(I’m writing this with my Video Game Journalist Hat on) I have to file this under: HAHA! We told you so! It seems that, according to a recent study by Nielsen Games, video game playing cuts down on TV prime time viewing. Well, duh! Why sit around and watch when you can interact right? That’s what is driving online video ad growth isn’t it? Interactivity is the key.

Alright so this sort of falls outside of the online video arena, but I thought it was interesting anyway. Video games are played from 7-11 pm, that’s TV prime time. We obviously can’t watch TV and play games at the same time, so a choice is made to activate instead of vegetate. Nearly 25% of all Xbox 360 usage is between 7 and 11 p.m, with men around 23% and women’s usage at around 17%.

Here are some further stats on Xbox 360 users:

  • 45% 18- to-34-year-olds
  • 31% 12- to-17-year-olds
  • 13% 2- to-11-year-olds
  • 7% 35- to-44-year-olds
  • 3% 45- to-54-year-olds

For those that don’t know, the Xbox LIVE Arcade also has its own 1 vs 100 in two flavors, with live host and without.  Gamers average 87 minutes with the host and 71 without. The game even has commercial breaks, so it’s paying its way and it’s more like interactive-TV than anything.

The ads are even showing ROI with heightened brand recall and some boost to brand awareness. I guess that will help pull some ad dollars out of TV along with the viewers.

“Advertisers should be very interested to see the amount of time consumers spend interacting with these games – especially during those appointment-based ‘1 vs 100 Live’ sessions,” said Gerardo Guzman, Nielsen Games.

“What makes this pilot study so important is the potential for precise audience segmenting. As more game companies and advertisers participate in studies like these, we’re able to define and refine an efficient set of metrics for gaming that can be compared against other media.”

“Our independent research shows that gamers are very engaged while playing, especially during Live Play,” said Carolyn Fuson, Sr. Audience and Analysis Manager, Xbox LIVE Advertising. “In one specific case, an advertiser who placed ads within the games saw notable brand recall and lift. Our ability to learn more about the audience can only be a positive to those brands looking to make an impact on the growing gaming community.”

OK here’s the big kicker. All three major consoles (Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii) now have Netflix. Xbox LIVE Arcade also has the Zune network so loads of video, TV and film are showing up on the consoles. Nintendo’s Wii has a channel dedicated to video and the Playstation 3 has built in TV links to various websites around the world. In the v3.01 firmware update they added a TV link on the XMB (XrossMediaBar – the main interface). Certain countries have direct links to places like BBC (in the UK), etc. Plus the browser just got a Flash update as well in a more recent update. That means that many more video streaming sites will now be compatible with the browser and that could also boost online video viewing through the console.

The Xbox 360 doesn’t allow for free-form web browsing but they offer loads of video, both third-party properties (TV and film) and shows that Microsoft themselves produce. They also have pulled in some web series that are directly available (for a fee or free) from the video portion of the dashboard.

Nintendo has taken a totally different approach, aside to the new Netflix deal, to their video channel. You can read about it at: Nintendo Japan Announces Wii-no-ma and Dokodemo Video Broadcast Channels

Home game consoles are becoming more than just games, they’re entertainment centers that are tying together all facets of entertainment multimedia, including online video and they could be a, pardon the pun, game changer.

Quotes and chart from

Who, When and How? A Closer Look at Video Game Measurement


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