TV retains key role in US

10 January 2012

NEW YORK: Television remains the "most popular" type of media in the US despite the rise of digital channels such as online and mobile, a study has found.

Research firm Nielsen reported that 114.7m American households now have at least one television set, including 28.3m with three or more sets and 35.9m owning a minimum of four.

More specifically, 288m people regularly watch traditional TV, 232m have a mobile phone, 211m use the internet and 113m access the web through smartphones.

"Across the ever-changing US media landscape, TV maintains its stronghold as the most popular device," Nielsen's study said.

Overall, the typical American consumer spends just under 33 hours watching traditional television a week, as opposed to dedicating four hours to using the web via a PC.

Timeshifted TV viewing registered 2 hours 21 minutes a week, while streaming video online posted 27 minutes during the same period, a figure coming in at seven minutes for mobile.

In all, 143m people now access broadcast content and video on the web, 111m deploy time-shifting technologies for the same purpose, and 30m engage in this pastime on a mobile phone.

Looking online, the average netizen is exposed to 2,905 pages a month, viewing 830 pages on Facebook, and visiting 94 domains.

Nearly 80% of the web population has joined a social network, with 97% of this group logging on using a computer, 37% signing in from mobile phones, standing at 3% for the iPad and games consoles.

Smartphone penetration has also now reached 43%. Devices powered by Google's Android operating system took 43% of this category, with Apple's iPhone on 28%, and Research in Motion's BlackBerry on 18%

Uptake of these gadgets has hit 60% among Asian Americans and 50% for their Hispanic counterparts, well ahead of the average.

Gaming, geo-location, music and social networking tools were the most widely-used apps for the smartphone audience, Nielsen's study added.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff