Digital fuels increase in media time

10 September 2014

NEW YORK: The growth of digital video is driving an increase in overall media consumption across all US age groups new research has shown.

The Cross-Platform Report Q2 2014, from researcher Nielsen, revealed that even as viewers were cutting back on television viewing they were more than making up for those lost minutes with the time spent on digital.

Some of the fastest digital growth was coming from the older age groups, with daily online video viewing times up 80% year on year among 35-49 year olds to around 26 minutes. An older group of 50-64 year olds registered a 60% rise to about 19 minutes.

The increase was lowest for 18-34 year olds, at 53%, but on 35 minutes daily they are already further down the digital route.

Distinct ethnic differences emerged, with young black and Asian consumers significantly more likely to spend time on digital video, at 48 minutes and 51 minutes respectively.

Daily TV viewing times dipped by six minutes among 50-64 year olds to 6 hours 12 minutes, by four minutes among 35-49 year olds to 4 hours and 57 minutes, and by five minutes among 18-34 year olds to 4 hours 17 minutes.

"This continuing shift should be embraced as an opportunity," declared Dounia Turrill, svp/Insights Nielsen. "It's not about winners and losers, it's about the opportunity to iterate and redefine the rules of the game," she added.

Much of the shift appears to be taking place via smartphones, as the report noted a 33% increase in the average time spent on these devices, from 1 hour 4 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes.

"Consumers have become accustomed to controlling the wide array of content at their fingertips," said Turrill. "The overarching data suggests that the growth of media consumption is and will continue to be in digital for all consumers.

"We can surmise that having tasted the freedom of choice, the American consumer will not go back to old ways," she concluded.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff