Gamers Tune In

Mar 21, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The growth and sophistication of home video game consoles raises concerns that marketers who want to reach consumers via television may find viewers are paying more attention to a joystick than to their ads.
But what happens if you’re trying to reach gamers to sell them a new Xbox, PlayStation or Wii console?
Nielsen Media Research recently released a report from its new Nielsen GamePlay Metrics, which relies on data pulled from its Home Technology survey as well as its Nielsen National People Meter sample of 12,000 U.S. television households. This adds actual usage data to the self-reported information used in most other studies on video gaming.
In the report, Nielsen looked to see which networks had the highest concentration of console users in their audience. No. 1 was kids network Nicktoons: A whopping 43.2 percent of its viewers also used a video game console during the first eight weeks of the 2006-07 television season.
No. 2 on the list is Adult Swim, which has an older audience.
Most of the other popular networks are aimed at kids, including third-place Toon Disney; Cartoon Network, in fourth; Noggin, fifth; and Nickelodeon, sixth.
Also on the list are music networks MTV2, VH1 Classic, Fuse, MTV and VH1.
G4, a cable channel actually aimed at the gamer population, is No. 10 on the list, with 31.8 percent of its viewers using game consoles.
Other networks in the top 20 include the Science Channel, ABC Family, BET, Comedy Central, Sci Fi, Animal Planet and Spike.
And who are these gamers? The three core groups, not surprisingly, are children, teens and people 18-34 years old. In the average minute, 34.2 percent of console users were 18-34. Most of those were males 18-34, representing 26 percent of the total.
The media age of a console user was 17 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, up from 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005.
Only 1 percent of women 50-plus were among game console users.
The heaviest users of video games-those in the top 20 percent-accounted for 74 percent of all console usage. Those top users averaged 5 hours and 4 minutes on days they used their consoles.
Prime time for video game usage is during TV’s early fringe and prime time. During fringe, 2.8 million people 2 years and older are gaming. During prime time, it’s 2.7 million.
The busy period for video game usage among men 18-34 during January 2007 was 10-10:59 p.m. On average, 814,000 men in that demo were using their consoles at home.
Although game consoles now are connected to the Internet and contain DVD players, concern that they’re stealing viewers from traditional television may be overblown.
Overall, respondents who own and have used video games in their home spent about the same amount of time watching television as the average for the entire Home Technology Report sample. They watched TV an average of 21.4 hours per week, compared to 21.7 hours among all viewers 12 years and older.
Those game users are more likely to be in digital cable households, which means they receive more channels.
In the future, Nielsen plans to track individual platforms and game titles. For this report, all uses of the game console are counted as video game consumption.


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