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A new study conducted for the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence dispels several popular ideas about the consumption of video media.

According to the study, the biggest consumers were not teenagers, but baby boomers, aged 45 to 54, averaging 9 1/2 hours per day in front of a screen!
The study took place over the course of one year, and involved direct observation of participants. The study was run by the Center for Media Design at Ball State University and analytical firm Sequent.

The observers recorded — in 10-second increments — consumer exposure to visual content presented on any of four categories of screens:

• traditional television (including live TV as well as DVD/VCR and DVR playback);
• computer (including Web use, e-mail, instant messaging and stored or streaming video);
• mobile devices such as a Blackberry or iPhone (including Web use, text messaging and mobile video);
• “all other” screens (including display screens in out-of-home environments, in-cinema movies and other messaging and even GPS navigation units).

All together, the study generated data covering more than 952 observed days.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • the average time for all other age groups was about 8 hours per day, with no major variation between groups.
  • the highest consumption of mobile was in the 18 to 24 year old group. They watched 42 minutes per day, just more than double the overall average of 20 minutes per day.
  • TV users were exposed to, on average, 72 minutes per day of TV ads and promos — again dispelling a commonly held belief that modern consumers are channel-hopping or otherwise avoiding most of the advertising in the programming they view.
  • Despite the proliferation of computers, video-capable mobile phones and similar devices, TV in the home still commands the greatest amount of viewing, even among those ages 18-24. The average is almost 6 hours of TV per day.

“This landmark research study makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how consumers go about accessing content across all platforms within the context of their daily lives,” said CRE Media Consumption and Engagement Committee Chair, Shari Anne Brill.