Young Boomers Watch 9.5 Hours of Video per Day; TV Still on Top

Mar 26, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Live viewing on television still is the dominant form of video consumption in the United States.
A new study conducted by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design and Sequent Partners for the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence, found that 99% of video consumption on televisions, the Web and mobile is on traditional TVs. Even among adults 18 to 24, 98% of video is seen on televisions.
The figures confirm numbers generated by other forms of measurement by Nielsen.
Live TV was the top way video was consumed, followed by DVDs, with digital video recorders third.
Younger baby boomers in the 45- to 54-year-old age group average the most daily screen time, a little more than 9 ½ hours. Other age groups average about 8½ hours.
The study found that TV users were exposed to 72 minutes per day of TV ads and promos, which dispels the belief that people are finding ways to avoid commercial message.
The $3.5 million study was designed to take a look at how consumers use media. In some cases it reinforces other research. In other cases it “raises questions about the conventional wisdom” and dispels some media myths, said Susan Whiting, CEO of the Nielsen Co.
Ball State did the survey by observing how 400 people used media, wherever they went, whatever they did, over the course of a full day. The observers logged what the subjects of the study were doing in 10-second increments.
The technique yielded very different results than are usually obtained when subjects are asked about their own media habits.
“Serious caution needs to be applied in interpreting self-report data for media use,” the report said. “TV was substantially under reported, while online video and mobile video were over reported.”
(Editor: Baumann)


  1. Let’s see now, who actually funded this startling “scientific” research. I actually didn’t need to read down to guess.
    Of all the unpleasant habits of large corporations, putting up these ridiculous “research studies” are among the most heinous. They don’t just give a fake scientific gloss to ridiculous contentions but co-opt legitimate university research.
    I’d love to see an actual, independent, professionally-designed study about television viewing habits.

  2. Why don’t you try actually reading the research and making specific objections to the method before you make idiotic claims of bias?

  3. Well, I didnt read the report, but I will agree with Mason, its more than likely biased. Besides how can you call this a typical cross section of american TV watchers when only 400 people were surveyed? There are tens of millions of people that watch TV and only 400 people are surveyed and the results from that are used? Sounds pretty stupid to me.

  4. I heeded Mikey’s helpful suggestion to read the report. Unfortunately, only a promise seems to be available:

    Results from the VCM study will be posted to the Council for Research Excellence website at http://www.researchexcellence.com in the second week of April, 2009.

    I’d like to know more about the sampling and recruiting procedures. Also, obviously a viewer may behave differently when being monitored continuously (and for 14 hours at a stretch, apparently).

  5. While Nielsen was the underwriter of the C.R.E. study, the council itself is made up of a wide assortment of individuals representing advertisers, agencies, broadcast TV, cable, and respected members of academia. I would encourage the writer of the above posting to look at the fuller results when they’re available in a couple of weeks through the C.R.E. site at . . . http://www.researchexcellence.com/
    Otherwise I believe the comments above are premature and based solely on the press release that was put out, which is admittedly cursory (vs. the amount of information that will ultimately be available). I’m personally not a member of the C.R.E. but DID sit in on the presentation yesterday. I found it to be well thought-out, enlightening and a survey that may very well be a contemporary landmark for ethnographic research.

  6. I’m not surprised that TV remains the top source of video entertainment. It’s still more accessible to more people and though not necessarily always “better” in quality, it remains at least as good (and in many cases it IS better). Couple this with habit and tradition, and boomers, in particular, WOULD watch it more than other sources.
    The Internet has come a long way, but it isn’t a replacement for TV (yet). Personal observation only – I use the Internet as a “back-up” for TV shows I have missed and when nothing is on TV that I want to watch (and that assumes that I don’t have something on my DVR that I haven’t watched).
    As for handhelds (of all kinds), I’ll admit I have watched (less than stellar quality) videos on them … when there was no TV around.
    The commercial exposure is interesting, but TV is, after all, a passive experience. I think that is a large component of its continued success. I have sat through at least half of the commercials in a particular pod even when watching on DVR.

  7. what the first poster misses is that this was independent and professionally designed. The Council that oversaw the research was comprised of members of companies on BOTH the buy side and sell side of the business. Those on the sell side were comprised of all forms of media: TV (b’cast and cable) internet, mobile, etc. One would be hard pressed to claim there was an agenda here besides trying to get an accurate picture of things.
    The researchers addressed the sample size in their prelim write up and you can read it on the site that Brad N. posted.

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