Tag Archives: DVR

Nielsen: Audiences are Moving Away From Traditional TV


Nielsen has a lump of coal for the Christmas stockings of each network: it released new data today showing that consumers are continuing to move away from traditional TV viewing in favor of increased time-shifting, streaming video and sites like Netflix.

In its latest quarterly Total Audience Report, which examines viewing statistics among US audiences in the third quarter, Nielsen revealed that the average adult now spends 141:19 (all times in hours: minutes) per month watching traditional TV, down 5:42 from Q3 last year (147:01). Meanwhile, the time spent watching time-shifted TV has increased to 14:20, from 13:12 last year.

“While we are not seeing a departure from media content consumption, we do see a shift in consumer behavior and today we see a resounding growth in consumption on digital platforms,” wrote Dounia Turrill, Nielsen’s senior vice president of insights.

But the biggest growth in the past year was Internet video viewing, a category which includes Netflix and YouTube. That jumped just over four minutes per month, to 10:42 (from 6:41 in Q3 2013). Video consumption via smartphone was on the rise as well, increasing 21 minutes per month to 1:46 (from last year’s 1:25).

Nielsen also broke down how the average adult spends their day (all times in hours: minutes).

Total_Audience-Report Q3 2014

In total, adults now spend 10:50 per day engaging with some kind of media, up from 10:28 in Q3 2013 and 10:20 in Q3 2012. In other words, if you make the content, we will make the time to consume it.

Combined with this summer’s revelations about how we watch TV now and how we watch TV on the internet, these Nielsen statistics are the latest evidence of how rapidly our viewing habits have shifted.

“The growing penetration of new devices and the popularity of subscription- based streaming services, time-shifted and over-the-top viewing — as well as cord-cutting and cord shaving — are fundamentally changing the TV industry,” wrote Turrill.

So much, in fact, that Nielsen can’t keep up. “Media companies, digital players and measurement are at a crossroad,” wrote Turrill. “Content remains king and consumers are steering their own content discovery experience.”

Why Sunday-Night Television is So Good

sunday night atlantic

The Atlantic took notice of my Quartz piece on why all the best shows air on Sunday nights, and republished it. Two times in one week!

Why Sunday-Night Television is So Good 

Five Reasons Why Sunday is TV’s Best Night

sopranos sunday

Homeland. The Good Wife. The Affair. The Walking Dead. Mad Men. Masters of Sex. Veep. Game of Thrones. When you think of the best (and most Emmy-nominated) shows on TV, almost all of them air on Sunday nights. As I wrote at Quartz,

It seems counterintuitive to pit all of TV’s best series against one another, as anyone who’s tried to program a DVR on Sundays can attest. But there is in fact a method to the networks’ madness, and five reasons why Sunday night’s quality TV overload exists—and won’t be going away anytime soon.

Through Nielsen numbers crunching (charts!), research and a great chat with Showtime Network President David Nevins, I came up with five very strong reasons — some of which surprised even me. Here’s one: airing on Sunday night is more important than being watched on Sunday night.

While many of the Sunday shows have drawn record audiences as mentioned above, it’s also true that premium cable networks like HBO and Showtime aren’t beholden to advertisers. So those executives don’t have the expectation or urgency that viewers need to tune in “live” during their shows’ initial Sunday night airing. “I always say, it doesn’t matter to me whether you watch it on Sunday; I’m fine if you want to want until Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday,” said Nevins. “You wait much past then, you’re going to miss the conversation.”

Five reasons why Sunday is TV’s best night

Charts: How We Watch TV Now

how we watch tv now

Hundreds of reporters have assembled at TCA summer press tour, but as far as I’m aware, I’m the only one who wrote a detailed story about the fascinating panel with CBS, FX, Fox and Showtime’s research gurus, who talked about how audiences actually watch TV now.

“We’re in a new era of television,” said David Poltrack, chief research officer for CBS, noting that weekly TV viewing has increased 2% over the last three years, from 35 hours and 36 minutes to 37 hours and 50 minutes. “This is a golden era of television content, and the public is embracing television and engaging with television in a way that they never did before, because it is so much good programming.”

While I usually try to summarize my stories a bit here, there’s so much terrific information throughout the piece about delayed viewing lifts and multi-platform audiences that I urge you to read the whole thing yourself.

Charts: How we watch TV now

TV Shows on the Brink of Cancellation are Being Saved by Delayed Viewing


One of the reasons I love writing for Quartz is being able to do stories like today’s: an explanation why the broadcast networks are being more patient than ever with new shows, as they rely more heavily on Nielsen’s “live plus seven” ratings. As I wrote,

Delayed-viewing is “significantly higher” than last year, CBS research chief David Poltrack told USA Today, adding that even older viewers, historically late adopters of new technology, are jumping on board. “The world has definitely changed,” says Poltrack.

I’m happy that delayed-viewing ratings have boosted the fortunes of several of my favorite low-rated series, like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Bridge and The Americans.

TV shows on the brink of cancellation are being saved by delayed viewing