New devices and platforms flourish but TV consumption stays the same



| 19 August 2015

Even though there have been definite shifts in the type of video content people consume and the means by which they consume it, people are watching roughly the same amount of films and TV as they ever did, says Nielsen.

Nielsen 19 Aug 2015The market analyst's latest Home Entertainment Consumer Trends report found that in the new digital TV age the average American owns four enabled devices, with 73% of those aged 12 and above actively consuming films and TV shows for home viewing. Over half reported buying or renting one or more TV shows digitally in the past six months.

Yet Nielson also found that in absolute terms the number of digital-only consumers of entertainment remained low, with just 12% of consumers having entirely to digital means for their TV and movie consumption. The majority of people (41%) say they buy or rent their content both physically and digitally. And even though Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy five years ago, a fifth of the survey said they still buy or rent physical discs only. Consumers also reported spending about twice as much on physical disc purchases and rentals than on digital ones in the past month. A tenth of consumer dollars in July 2015 went towards TV/film disc purchases and 6% went towards physical rentals, whereas only a combined 9% went towards digital consumption

That said, consumers reported that on average that they now spend 25% less time during a typical week watching physical content than digital, with most of their digital viewing happening via subscription streaming services. In addition, 19% of total viewing hours over a typical week were spent on digital content, including 10% on subscription streaming films; 4% on TV/films owned digitally; 4% on TV on cable video-on-demand (VOD), ordering on-demand or pay-per-view through a cable or satellite provider for a one-time fee; and 1% on movies rented digitally online for a one-time fee.

Comparatively, consumers reported spending only 11% of their entertainment hours on physical content (7% on TV/movies purchased on disc and 4% on those rented). The remaining viewing hours were spent on activities such as watching live and time-shifted TV, playing video games or watching films in cinemas.

On the whole, consumers indicated a rising preference in free (and subscription streaming) TV content over going to the cinema or even watching films in general. Watching free TV content rose across all viewing methods, including live TV, time-shifted TV via DVR, Internet VOD (renting a digital copy for a one-time fee)