TV viewership

Editor’s Note: although disabled fast-forwarding may be a reason for the results, the data are still valid Viewers Hang Around on VOD – source: VAB, Video Advertising Bureau, Nielsen data


Viewers watching 30-minute shows on their cable operator’s VOD system watch those shows 50% longer than live viewers and 33% more than other time-shifting viewers, according to a new report by the VAB.

According to VAB, which represents broadcast and cable networks, as well as multichannel video program distributors, viewers are watching an hour more per month than a year ago. And their ad engagement is up as more programmers and distributors utilize dynamic ad insertion technology that enables advertisers to target audiences with relevant messages.  

Latest issue with Nielsen’s TV numbers: Distractions via MediaLife (source: interview with Turner Broadcasting CRO Howard Shimmel)

Distracted viewing is a topic of fervent discussion among media people, who worry over whether their clients’ ads are being seen by viewers who are texting on their phones, checking Facebook on their tablets, and live-tweeting shows, all while simultaneously watching television. A recent study by Nielsen Consumer Neuro, commissioned by the Council for Research Excellence, examined the impact of second-screen distractions on engagement with TV.

The following is a Q&A of an interview with Howard Shimmel, CRO of Turner Broadcasting:

  1. What did you find most surprising or interesting about this study?
  2. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s surprising, but the study did confirm what we suspected in how people watch TV in a multi-screen setting. Consumers tend to have multiple changes in status–from eyes on a traditional television to eyes on their second screen device to talking to a co-viewer within a minute or a few minutes.

We’ve known that this behavior exists, but to my knowledge this is the first time we’ve measured it based on observation, not surveys, by measuring it in a live lab setting. The next phase of the study will be fielded in the home.

  1. How else are second screens impacting TV viewing?
  2. The CRE study reinforced findings that are generally well known throughout the industry, that consumers use second screens to moderate engagement during content and during ads.
  3. What other environmental factors impact how much people are paying attention to primary screens?
  4. The list is rather extensive–who else is in the room, who made the choice on what to watch, importance of show, quality of show, time of day and other activities taking place while viewing.

Access full report from MediaLife

Chart of the Week

Nielsen is reporting that in May 2016, the average (not median) adults in TV households, can receive 206 different channels. In terms of viewing, the figure is much smaller, about 20 channels actually viewed during that month. Two years ago the number was 21 channels.

In addition, the average number of Internet sites visited monthly is now 55, while the average number of mobile phone apps used monthly is now 28.