Research Report: Youngsters Not Abandoning Live TV

Time spent with digital media overstated

A $3.5 million one year research study into where and how people seek out video, reveals today that the extent to which young people are abandoning live television for new media has been by overestimated.

According to the Video Consumer Mapping Study—conducted by the Council for Research Excellence, a cross-industry think tank of top executives from agencies and TV networks—people aged between 18-24 watched only 5.5 minutes of ‘computer video,’ daily compared with 209.9 minutes of live television. DVR playback accounted for 17.2 minutes a day. Across all ages groups, live television still accounted for 309.1 minutes of viewing a day compared to only 14.6 minutes of playback TV and 2.4 minutes daily spent watching online video.

The study reads: “TV in the home still commands the greatest amount of viewing, even among those aged 18-24 years old. In the eyes of researchers, this appears to dispute a common belief that Internet video and mobile phone video exposure among that group were significant in 2008.”

Speaking Thursday at a presentation of the results, Bill Moult, a founding partner at Sequent Partners that conducted the research said: "Some people are surprised that 18-24 year olds are watching three and a half hours of TV a day. Relative to all other media, that's an enormous difference."

The findings could give marketers some pause for thought, given the time and effort they put behind crafting campaigns targeted at online video consumers who are spending a tiny fraction of their time watching TV online.

Advertisers are likely to take heart from data showing that TV users are exposed to 72 minutes of commercials and promos, dispelling the myth that consumers are adept at avoiding the breaks. Still, the report also found that digital media has replaced radio as the number two most popular medium behind television.