Screen Crazy!

If you feel like you are stuck in front of a viewing screen all day, you are not imagining things.

According to the “Video Consumer Mapping” study from the Council of Research Excellence (CRE), the Ball State University Center for Media Design and Sequent Partners, US consumers are screen crazy, spending 524 minutes (nearly 9 hours) a day in front of some sort of screen.

Average Time Spent per Day with Select Media Among US Consumers, by Age, Spring & Fall 2008 (minutes)

But not all screens are created equal.

Throwing cold water on the sizzling-hot online video space, the study found that little of the screen time was spent viewing “computer video,” which only accounted for an average of 2.4 minutes per day. That’s less than 0.5% of the average US consumer’s screen time on a given day.

Mobile video only accounted for an average of 6 seconds of viewing a day.

Even taking account of movie and out-of-home video screens, 98% of video is still viewed on a television screen.

However, several pieces of research contrast with the study’s findings, particularly on the subject of online video.

Nielsen observed that in May 2008, people spent 4.5 minutes per day watching online video, higher than the CRE estimate—but then Nielsen surveyed Web users only.

In addition, Universal McCann estimated that 74.2% of US Internet users watched online video daily or every other day in 2008.

Internet Users Who Watch Online Video in Select Countries Worldwide, 2006-2008 (% of respondents)

But TubeMogul found that 54% of online viewers didn’t make it past 60 seconds of video in late 2008.

CRE has an explanation for the conflicting figures: Online video watchers overstated the amount they watch by “an extreme.”

“This suggests that online video may be more important to viewers than the short running times of the clips would indicate,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst.

“The CRE’s findings on viewing duration highlight one of the limitations of online video,” added Mr. Verna. “Despite the best efforts of TV networks, film studios, sports leagues and other purveyors of long-form, premium content, the Web remains a haven for ‘snack’ viewing—user-generated videos, music videos, news clips and game highlights.”

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