June 15, 2011 at 11:49 AM ET
Americans are spending more time watching video content on TVs, mobile devices and the Internet than ever before, with people watching 22 more minutes of TV now than a year ago, and spending a minimum of an hour a day ingesting the boob tube, and up to 10 hours a day in some of the more zoned-out households.
In Nielsen's latest "Cross-Platform Report," mobile video watching continues to increase dramatically: 100 percent since 2009 and 41 percent since last year. Also up: Internet video streaming, "satellite and telephone company-delivered TV subscriptions," and HDTVs.
The company also made some observations about demographics, finding African Americans as the No. 1 group that is watching videos via TV and mobile video. But Asian Americans were the "hands-down leader" in using the Internet to access favorite TV shows and movies, averaging six or so more hours of such consumption every month than whites and four hours more a month than Hispanics, second to whites.
Hispanics were of particular interest to Nielsen, which singled them out in the "Emerging Trends" section of the report as most likely to have a smartphone, while white mobile subscribers are the least. Nielsen drew a possible correlation between that and how Hispanics are "watching more video on their mobile devices than the general population. Likewise, the availability of Spanish-language channels available on satellite continues to drive the increased number of Hispanics who opt for satellite-delivery of their TV content."
Different platforms also appealed to different age groups. Because the likelihood of becoming a couch potato increases with age, adults ages 50-64 make up the largest segment of the traditional TV audience at 25 percent. But younger Americans ages 12-17 spend a third of their Internet time watching video. Adults ages 35-49 are the biggest chunk using the Internet to access videos, while 25- to 34-year-olds dominate the mobile video audience.
There has been a lot of buzz about Netflix and its boom in streaming video services, and Nielsen's report reaffirmed the notion:
The new trend among our TV and Internet homes shows the lightest traditional television users streaming significantly more Internet video via their computers, and the heaviest streamers under-indexing for traditional TV viewership. This behavior is led by those ages 18-34.
The group of consumers exhibiting this behavior is significant but small. More than a third of the TV/Internet population is not streaming, whereas less than one percent are not watching TV.
The report also debunks the myth that people are leaving behind their cable and satellite subscriptions en masse: Nielsen found that 91 percent of TV-watching households still paid for such services in the first quarter of 2011.