The Nielsen Cross-Platform Report for the last quarter of 2011 was released, to ho-hums by the TV world and to head scratching by everyone else. The report held no surprises indicating that 98% of all television content is consumed on a traditional television. These are the stats despite the growth of Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Blu-ray players, iPads, Roku boxes, smartphones, and game consoles.
On the one hand, as pointed out by Media Posts Gary Holmes, who used to work for Nielsen, and on this very report, sales of HD television sets continues to grow which would seem to indicate that at least for the foreseeable future, watching on the big screen at home will be the dominant mode of consumption. American's watched 5 hours of content last quarter on average (down about a minute and a half) of which only 2% came via the internet. On the other hand, only 8% of TV viewing is time-shifted a full ten years after DVRs were introduced. So maybe the shift to smaller screens will be slower than many expected.
Still, viewing on smartphones is up 36% over last year, and viewers spent 30% more time on game consoles in 2011 than in 2010. In fact the report notes that game consoles are now in 45% of all homes. Gary Holmes also points out that the continuing rise in viewing hours may be driven by the continuing rise of Baby Boomers into the 65+ demographic where viewing typically increases. He suggests that were numbers to be broken out for the 18-34 age group we might see some trends that indicate more of a willingness to move away from traditional ad-supported TV and toward new technologies and business models.
So while the Cross Platform report for Q4 2011 held no surprises, it did hint at coming changes in online and mobile viewership. . But, if you don't know what's coming, you can't prepare for it.
Here's the Nielsen Wire wrap up on the Cross Platform Report.