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Three Screen Report Media Consumption and Multi-tasking Continue to Increase Across TV, Internet, and Mobile

4 minute read | September 2009

Updated 12/18/09 to reflect full time period.

Americans are increasing their overall media consumption, and media multi-tasking is part of the equation, according to new data from The Nielsen Company’s most recent Three Screen Report. During 2nd Quarter 2009, the number of people watching mobile video increased 70% from last year and people who watch video online increased their viewing by 46% compared to a year ago. In addition, the average American TV consumption remains at an all-time high (141 hours per month) compared to the same time frame last year.

Monthly Time Spent in Hours:Minutes Per User 2+
Activity 2Q 09 1Q 09 2Q 08 % Diff Yr to Yr

(2Q 09 to 2Q 08)

Absolute Diff Yr to Yr

(2Q 09 to 2Q 08)

Watching TV in the home* 141:03 153:27 139:00 1.5% 2:02
Watching Timeshifted TV* 7:53 8:13 6:05 29.4% 1:11
Using the Internet** 26:15 29:15 26:29 -0.9% -0:14
Watching Video on Internet** 3:11 3:00 2:12 45.5% 0:59
Mobile Subscribers Watching Video on a Mobile Phone^ 3:15 3:37 3:37 -10.0% -0:22
Source: The Nielsen Company

Note: TV viewing patterns in the U.S. tend to be seasonal, with TV usage higher in the winter months and lower in the summer months leading to a decline in quarter to quarter usage, yet increasing from 2Q08 to 2Q09.

As of 2Q09 the 290 million people in the U.S. with TVs spend on average 141 hours: 3 minutes each month tuning into television. June 2009 data (used in this report in place of 2Q09) shows that 134 million people watching video on the Internet spent on average 3 hours:11 minutes during the month doing so. As of 2Q09 the 15 million people who watch mobile video in the U.S. spend on average 3 hrs:15 minutes each month watching video on a mobile phone.

“Although we have seen the computer and mobile phone screens taking on a significant role, their emergence has not been at the cost of TV viewership,” said Jim O’Hara, President, Media Product Leadership, The Nielsen Company. “The entire media universe is expanding so consumers are choosing to add elements to their media experience, rather than to replace them.” Nielsen data also shows Americans are using DVRs more than ever, watching one hour more of timeshifted TV each month than a year ago. Currently, 30% of homes in the U.S. have DVR devices.

The Simultaneous TV and Internet Experience

Nielsen’s Convergence Research Panel, launched in 2008, provides single source electronic measurement of TV and Internet usage in the same homes. As of June 2009, this panel shows 57% of consumers with Internet access at home watch TV and go online simultaneously at least once a month. On average these consumers spend 2 hours, 39 minutes each month simultaneously using the Internet while also watching TV. Their online experience at home is in front of the television almost a third of the time.

“Persons 2+ Watching TV and Using the Internet

Simultaneously At Least Once Per Month — June 2009 °°°

Activity Persons (P2+)
% of Persons Using TV/Internet Simultaneously 56.9%
Estimated Number of Persons Using TV/Internet Simultaneously 128,047,000
Time Spent Simultaneously Using TV/Internet Per Person in Hours:Minutes 2:39
Average % of TV time Panelists spent also using the Internet 2.7%
Average % of Internet time Panelists spent also using TV 27.9%
Source: The Nielsen Company

Other Key Facts and Trends

  • As Americans continue to watch more TV each year there are also more TVs in each home than people – in 2009 the average U.S. home had only 2.5 people vs 2.86 television sets. 54% of Americans have three or more TV sets in the home. (link to universe estimates)
  • Online usage is relatively flat since last year, though more people are viewing video online than ever before. Certain age groups also view online video more than others do – Adults 18-24 watch more than 5 hrs each month vs. Adults 65+ watching just over 1 hr of online video.
  • Short form video (such as YouTube clips) still makes up the lion’s share of online video viewing – 83% in May 09 – while name-brand TV network content comprises the majority of mobile video viewing.
  • Younger demographics aren’t using the Internet as much as older demographics, yet the growth rate of kids 2-11 online clearly outpaces the overall Internet penetration. The number of kids online has increased 18% compared to 10% growth for the total active Internet universe (P2+).
  • Mobile video viewing continues its upward trend, with over 15 million Americans reporting watching mobile video in Q2 2009. This is an increase of 70% versus last year – the largest annual growth to date.

Download Nielsen’s complete Three Screen Report for complete details and methodology.

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