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When it comes to television, Nielsen is kind of a big deal. The company is responsible for gathering the ratings for forms of media to be used for groups to maximize revenue via advertisement, and even those of us who have never squinted at the numbers the morning after a season premiere and tried to figure out what “adjusting up” actually means will know that Nielson math means money. Now, thanks to data collected and examined from participants, experts at Nielsen have come to a very important conclusion: way more people are streaming content than ever before.
In a report from May 2015, Nielsen measured when people are devouring content both digitally and on traditional platforms, finding that digital use has increased at all times during the day. Although television remains the leading platform by which most people view video, streaming video is advancing by leaps and bounds. Unlike television, the greatest percentage of digital viewing comes from outside of primetime hours. Rather, overnight and early morning blocks see the most streaming.
There are plenty of reasons why streaming has experienced such an increase, but none of them spell total doom and gloom for the traditional entertainment industry. The increase in people streaming has not led to a drastic decrease in live viewing numbers. Viewers aren’t tuning out; they’re just tuning in differently.
Television nowadays is just not quite as must-see as it once was. No longer are fans of shows required to sit down on the couch at a set time each week to watch an episode, complete with periodic commercial breaks. With DVR to record and websites to stream with, the concept of appointment television is becoming a thing of the past. In an era of smartphones and tablets and laptops, sometimes it’s just easier to wait for Hulu to update and watch before bed than to find a TV to sit down and watch a favorite show at 8 p.m. sharp.
Fortunately, Nielsen is keeping up with the present. Just as audiences are adapting to watching television on different platforms, Nielsen is working to find ways to measure streaming data as precisely as possible. Major streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime do not release their numbers for analysis, but Nielsen is continuing to do what it does best: accumulate data that nobody else can make sense of and turning it into a business model for television. Way more people are streaming content than ever before, and it’s only a matter of time before Nielsen can break it down into detail for us.
In the meantime, those seasons of Daredevil and Transparent aren’t going to binge-watch themselves.