The TV-rating service Nielsen has provided an explanation for a decline in the number of minutes U.S. viewers spend in front of their traditional TV sets — and it confirms what most people probably would have guessed.
The AP reports that new data from Nielsen shows “the use of Internet-ready devices like smartphones appears to have seriously cut into the time Americans spend watching traditional TV.”
The conclusion, while somewhat obvious, does undercut the prominent idea that mobile devices tend to be used as second screens while users are also watching TV.
“Data provided to The Associated Press show an increase in the number of 18-to-34-year-olds who used a smartphone, tablet or TV-connected device like a streaming box or game console. That grew 26 percent in May compared with a year earlier, to an average of 8.5 million people per minute,” the AP reports.
The report adds: “Those devices, which all showed gains in usage, more than offset declines in TV, radio and computers. In the same age group, the demographic most highly coveted by advertisers, use of those devices fell 8 percent over the same period to a combined 16.6 million people per minute.”
The data arrives as part of Nielsen’s inaugural “Comparable Metrics” report, which makes it possible for the first time to directly compare various devices using data on average use per minute.
“The study counts all apps, Web surfing and game play but not texts or calling,” the report notes.
Nielsen has found that traditional TV viewing — through cable or satellite connections or via antenna — peaked during the 2009-2010 season.
Said Glenn Enoch, Nielsen senior vice president of audience insights: “It’s pretty clear the increased use of mobile devices is having some effect on the system as a whole.”