by Frederic Lardinois
A new report (PDF) from the Council for Research Excellence functions as a good reminder to those of us who spend a lot of time on the web that we can often have a rather skewed view of how the rest of the world consumes media. If you are reading this, there is probably a good chance that you watch a lot of video online, or that you record your TV shows on your DVR and fast-forward through ads.
This study, which was sponsored by media research firm Nielsen, however, concludes that the average adult in the U.S. still watches an almost unbelievable 5 1/2 hours of live TV every day. 94% of adults watch TV on any given day, while most people only watch online videos for a few minutes a day.
The Good News for TV
TV (including DVR playback) represents 99% of all the video watched by U.S. adults, and even for the youngest group in the sample, those 18-24, online video only represented 2% of all screen time.
The Bad News for TV
In terms of general use, however, computers and mobile screens have clearly taken time away from TV, even if online video still has a lot of room to grow. Users 18-24 spend more time in front of their computer screens than any other group (143 min a day on average), but still watch 210 min of TV every day.
The older a person, the more time they are likely to spend in front of their TV (421 min for those 65 and older). For TV executives, however, this means that the next generation of viewers will most likely spend even less time in front of their TVs.
With YouTube XL, Boxee, and the new Hulu Desktop, a growing number of players are also now pushing online video onto the TV screens of mainstream users, and chances are that within a few years, online video and traditional TV will simply start to converge. While we will probably still be watching the majority of video on TV sets, users will care less and less whether it is coming from their cable company or ISP.
Note: we reported some data from a preliminary version of this report in March.