Nielsen verifies that yes, we are all multitasking
While I was busy gathering my costume and handing out candy to the hordes on Friday, Nielsen was reporting that the Internet’s heaviest users are also the heaviest television viewers. According to a study conducted by the Nielsen TV/Internet Convergence panel, the top-fifth of Internet users spend more than 250 minutes per day watching television, compared to 220 minutes of daily television viewing by people who do not use the Internet at all. Meanwhile, more than 30% of in-home Internet activity – surfing, email, social networking – happens while the user is also watching television.
This finding should surprise no one who is addicted to the Internet – once you are used to constantly interacting with your content, it’s hard to go back to just passively watching. And that explains why both TV viewing and Internet usage is increasing, although it doesn’t explain why even though TV viewership is allegedly increasing ABC, Fox and NBC are still all down about 17% year to year this season. By comparison, CBS is having a kick-ass year, down only 6%.
The panel, which used Nielsen’s People Meter and NetSight meter software to measure some 3,000 people in 1,000 homes, also found that:
– Roughly 50% of panelists have viewed some streaming content online. The demos streaming the most included Female Teens (82%), Male Teens (64%), Men 18-34 (57%) and Men 35-54 (55%)
Lesson: If you want to reach female teens, go online. (Excellent work learning that lesson on your own, TheWB.com and CW.com.)
– Nearly 60% of panelists and more than 80% of people who watched TV and used the Internet that month did those two things simultaneously. This group tends to be very heavy users of both TV and Internet.
Lesson: You have engaged audiences watching both online and on-air – so how are you reaching these people? I’m getting a little tired of the notion that TiVo has killed advertising. I’ve always been a fervent believer that with a little creativity, advertising can reach anyone you want it to, especially considering all the places now available to carry advertising. Here in Colorado, I see advertisements at the gas station and in the grocery store. In New York, people see ads on the subway, bus, street, practically everywhere they turn. There’s no excuse for not reaching your audience – they are there, you just have to figure out the best way to reach them. And that’s what you are being paid to do, advertisers and media buyers.
– All that said, TV is still king, reports Reuters. Average TV viewership in the home still dwarfs online activity — 127 hours vs. 26 hours per month among those who use the Internet, with video "streaming" on the Web accounting for just two hours and 19 minutes.
Lesson: There’s still a reason to have upfronts this May.
– This was an asterisk in the study but I found it interesting: Teens are the most likely demographic to simultaneously watch TV while using the Internet, but adults 35-54 have the most simultaneous usage minutes.
Lesson: We old people are not totally irrelevant. We use the Internet and buy stuff too. Plus we have way more money to spend than any female teenager.