US prefers consuming content on TV than online: Nielsen
Despite the growing popularity of viewing television content online, most American adults (94 per cent) who subscribe to cable or satellite television services prefer to watch television on traditional TV sets, according to a Nielsen study.
The report is based on a study that Nielsen conducted for the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing (Ctam).
One-third of the adult broadband users (35 per cent), surveyed for the study said that they watched at least one television programme originally shown on TV via the Internet. Of those who sought out video content online, 87 per cent watched television programs directly from a TV network website.
Further, 82 per cent of those who watched video content online reported that they went online to find a specific television program that they had missed when it first aired on TV.
This indicates the critical importance of strong marketing for the initial TV showing and the success that major networks are having by taking popular programmes to the online platform.
According to the study, online television viewers are not only catching up on their favourite shows, but nearly 40 per cent report using the Internet to get the scoop on actors and upcoming episodes.
As far as the online TV viewers are concerned, 39 per cent have read background info about a show's cast member, says the report.
38 per cent have viewed a show's preview. 37 per cent have read background info about the show or the show's characters. 27 per cent have viewed a behind-the-scenes video clip. Asked to choose among 17 online content categories, online television viewers said they prefer to watch shorter video clips when they go online. This specifically includes movie trailers (53 per cent), user generated videos (45 per cent), music videos and general news segments (37 per cent), comedy programmes (31 per cent), and sports clips (31 per cent).
Ctam president and CEO Char Beales says, "Tracking how consumer behaviour is changing as a result of new television viewing platforms is critical to our business. As preferences are made clear through research, cable companies and content providers evolve the product mix to best suit viewers' needs and desires."
"With so many viewing options now available via digital technology, it's more important than ever to understand how people are consuming media. This analysis shows a continuing strong appetite for watching television the traditional way even as viewers begin to extend their viewing to the personal computer," Nielsen executive VP Susan Whiting added.
In general, the study found that people are spending more time online each week than they were two years ago. More than half of the respondents (51 per cent) reported being online for at least three hours a week last year. In 2005, just 41 per cent of those surveyed said they spent three or more hours online per week.
Nielsen and Ctam's analysis also found growth among services associated with traditional television set viewing. For example, respondents' knowledge and usage of video-on-demand services increased substantially between 2005 and 2007. Free-on-demand programs and movies also experienced a significant jump in usage from 49 per cent in 2005 to 71 per cent in 2007, while paid-on-demand usage increased from 46 per cent to 55 per cent.
Other key findings from the report include:
HDTV subscribers are exceptionally loyal: Of those respondents who own HDTV sets, two-fifths (41 per cent) subscribe to a high-definition programming service. These subscribers report making it a point to watch high-definition programs every time (20 per cent) or most of the time (45 per cent) they watch television.
Digital cable and HDTV are poised for further growth: Interest in digital cable and HDTV sets is strong among respondents currently without these services or devices. Those interested in digital cable jumped from nine per cent to 20 per cent and from 18 per cent to 28 per cent for high definition TV sets from 2005 to 2007.
Viewers are accessing TV content via new media platforms: Small, but significant, percentages of respondents reported watching television via desktop computers (14 per cent), laptops (nine per cent), video-enabled mobile phones (6 per cent), or other portable video players (5 per cent).
Portable video platforms are slowly gaining popularity: While a large per cent (82 per cent) of adults in this study own a mobile phone, only seven per cent subscribe to a video downloading service. Of those respondents who own a video iPod, 35 per cent have never watched a video on it, 16 per cent watch videos two or three times a month, 14 per cent watch videos once a week, and nine per cent watch videos daily via iPod.