April 04, 2017

Smart Phones Not Killing TV

"A new study of media and attention by Nielsen Co. confirms what has now become conventional wisdom: Smartphones are winning and traditional television is losing..." Fortune, 2015
Not exactly.

Nielsen's Total Audience Report for the 4th quarter of 2016 just arrived and it has some interesting stuff in it. First have a  look at this chart.

A quick glance shows that the quickly expanding amount of time we are spending with our smart phones (light orange) does not seem to be impacting the amount of time we are spending with broadcast media.

While time spent with Smart Phones has more than doubled in 2 years, time spent with TV, DVR's and Radio is remarkably stable. (You'd never know it if you read horseshit like this 2 years ago.)

Observation tells us that a lot of time spent on cell phones is done during commutes, in restaurants, or standing around waiting for the fat guy to finish up in the men's room. It is not replacing other media occasions, it is inventing new ones.

Smart phones seem to be a last choice for viewing video. Here's a chart I put together from Nielsen's figures illustrating how people watched video last quarter.

The type of viewing that has been growing most quickly, and is probably responsible for the small decline in live TV viewing, is the use of "multi-media" devices such as Roku, TiVo, and Apple TV.  Time spent with these devices has more than doubled in two years, but according to Nielsen's numbers, still constitute only about 5% of video viewing.

Viewing of live TV still dwarfs all other types of video consumption combined.

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