Around the Web: Nielsen Study Shows Smartphone Beating Out TV

By the Editors

A recent study by Nielsen demonstrates that viewers are flocking to smartphones and mobile devices rather than traditional television. Fortune broke down the statistics from Nielsen, called the Comparable Metrics report. The data revealed that the 18 to 34 demographic are more apt to watch programming on-the-go rather than with a television set. According to Nielsen, traditional TV hit its peak in the 2009-10 season and has fallen ever since.

“The study is Nielsen’s first attempt to come up with a comprehensive measurement of video-viewing behavior across traditional TV, the web, mobile phones and other devices.”— Mathew Ingram, Fortune

Among audiences aged 18 to 34, the data from the Nielsen report illustrates that smartphones, tablets, streaming devices and game consoles increased in usage 25 percent from the prior year, which translates to roughly 8.5 million people viewing per minute. Though it should be noted that the numbers include video views of sites like YouTube and Facebook where audiences are watching multiple videos in an hour rather than one TV program. “The TV audience expresses viewers in an average minute of the program rather than across the total duration, as digital media is commonly reported. The number of persons exposed to a telecast as a whole is a much larger figure,” Nielsen explained.

While this distinction between a TV and digital audience may make it seem like television hasn’t lost much footing, media investor David Pakman of Venrock penned a piece published on Medium about how younger viewers are continuing to shift from traditional media to new platforms. Pakman points out in his article that teenagers are the catalysts for using digital media such as Instagram, Vine, Tumblr and Snapchat that then gain a following with older audiences. Though it may seem different to compare video views on Facebook versus a TV sitcom’s audience, the fact remains that watching videos through social media channels is growing whereas TV has remained stagnant.