Nielsen Reveals the Trends in American Video Consumption

By Charlene Weisler

According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, viewers are essentially creatures of habit. Overwhelmed by ever increasing content choices, Nielsen has found that viewers tend to stick with their familiar favorite shows. But, as Nielsen points out, as much as this is difficult for consumers, it is equally if not more difficult for content creators, programmers, platforms and marketers. “After all, if their efforts fail, consumers spend more time searching and less time consuming,” the report states.

Here are the takeaways:

  • Almost two-thirds of adults who stream video content are likely to watch when they know exactly what they want to watch. One-third will watch when they have a rough idea and only 22% watch when they don’t know what they want before diving into the options.
  • When faced with a decision of what to watch, 58% of users said they were more likely to go back to their favorite traditional channels if they couldn’t make a decision, 44% will scan through traditional channel options, 39% scan the program listings and 31% browse their DVR recordings.
  • SVOD users are less likely to scan their subscription content menus. Only one-third of adult respondents say they browse their SVOD content menus for more content, while 21% say they would simply opt out of watching anything if they couldn’t choose.
  • U.S. Adults have a large overall cross-media diet, spending 11 hours and 27 minutes per day interacting with media, up 21 minutes of additional media exposure across all platforms compared to 1Q2018.
  • Video viewing through TV-connected devices increased by 8 minutes daily, and as consumers replace old TV sets with TV screens preloaded with connected options, they’re adopting smart lifestyles.
  • Seven in 10 homes now have a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service and 72% use streaming-capable TV devices.
  • The group most susceptible to indecision is Adults 18-49. Younger adult viewers 18-34 are more likely to explore different viewing options. They’ll flip through menus, check out programs that have been recommended for them and step outside their traditional content comfort zones. But they also tend to rely on another “extreme” route, as they are reported to tune out all together at higher levels compared to other demos. They are also increasingly moving off the glass, spending over half of their daily media usage with digital media such as computers, smartphones, and tablets.

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