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Live TV watching is going down and DVR and mobile TV technology usage is going up. I don’t think the average person would need cold, concrete facts to synthesize this argument, but, hey, concrete facts usually do help. Compared to statistics in 2011, in the first quarter of 2012, both DVR usage, as well as alternative TV watching on smartphones or over the Internet, has increased a sizeable percent.
Each quarter, Nielsen publishes a cross platform report that discusses how U.S. households are using different technological platforms and devices. The report is extremely detailed and full of graphs, but luckily for us, Digital Trends boiled down some of the numbers pretty nicely. Here’s the deal: over the past year, live TV watching has dropped 2%, which isn’t horrible, but isn’t a step in the right direction, either. During the same time, DVR watching increased a whole 8%. Anything under 10% still seems like baby steps, but it is clear TV watching has begun to head in a new direction.
Another interesting (but certainly guessable) trend appeared when Nielsen noted that older TV watchers are still more likely to watch live television than younger watchers. According to the study, the 18-34 demographic only spends 3 ½ hours-4 hours on average watching live TV per day (with men closer to the former number and women closer to the latter). Adults over the age of 35, however, spend an average of 5 ½ hours-6 hours (5 ½ for men, 6 for women) watching live TV per day.
Cable television subscriptions have also dropped 5%, but people with satellite subscriptions have generally kept the service at the same rate. All in all, the study speaks to the beginnings of a shift for cable viewers. I’m not saying we will all be watching from our smartphones by the beginning of next year, but as newer platforms become more reliable, I would hypothesize live television watching will continue to drop while mobile technology use and DVR use continue to rise. I’m guessing you already had that notion, too.