US consumers interact with more screens during their daily lives in 2017 then they ever have before. From tablets, to smartphones, to smart cars and more, most Americans are inundated with screentime from the moment they wake up until they close their eyes to go to sleep. With that in mind, it would be reasonable for one to infer that one of these new screens may have usurped the television for the screen most adults use to consume their content. As it turns out, that is not the case. According to new data released by Nielsen earlier this year, 92% of US adults (18 and older) use their television screen to consume visual content.
The data comes from a study conducted in December of 2016 that compares TV viewing to viewing on other screen-based devices like video game consoles, Apple TVs, Chromecasts, Rokus and more.
Nielsen took the aggregate data from gross minutes viewed on a TV (82.1%) and gross minutes viewed on TV-connected devices (10.2%). This results in a total of 92.3% of adults using television screens to consume their content. Filling in the gaps are PCs with 5.1% of video-watching minutes, smartphones with 1.8% and tablets with 0.7%.
This data is particularly interesting because it flies in the face of the widely held belief that increasing smartphone usage has been detracting from TV usage. Peter Katsingris, SVP of audience insights at Nielsen commented on this, saying “This analysis is based on actual, behavioral data and that is what makes Nielsen an industry leader. What we found was that contrary to the popular narrative that smaller screens were taking away time from the TV glass, when we looked deeper we found that overall time spent viewing on the TV had the most minutes among every age or ethnic demographic looked at. In some cases the share of viewing was as much as 97%”.
The fact of the matter is that viewers use the TV screen for the bulk of their viewing and spend more time doing so than all the other platforms combined,” said Tom Ziangas, SVP Research at AMC Networks. “Sure, viewers have more options today, but when looking at platforms in a comparative fashion, it’s clear that consumers choose the television as the primary vehicle for content,” he added.
This is good news for television companies, but one has to wonder what it will take for a major screen shift to take place in the US marketplace. With all the new options that have become available in the last decade alone, it’s hard not to speculate about what the next ten years will hold.