Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nielsen: Almost 99 Percent of Video Watched on a TV Screen

With so much talk about online video and its threat to broadcast and cable, it seems to be overblown. TV usage is at an all time high while online video watching represents a mere 1% of total viewership. That translates to over 153 hours of TV a month versus 3 hours of internet viewing. "DVR use is becoming more mainstay as well, with the number of time-shifted hours watched jumping 40 percent from the same time last year to more than eight hours per month." Consumer preference continues to be to watch their shows on their big screen TV.

And while there is no short term need to worry about TV consumption for the cable industry, there should still be a concern about the trend.From Q4 '08 to Q1 '09, TV consumption grew less than 2% while internet viewing grew by a whopping 53.2% That growth should tell Hulu, Joost, and other online video distributors that their platform is growing rapidly. "Nielsen stats have come under fire recently in both the old and newteevee worlds. Online, Hulu expressed frustration over its audience numbers, and TV networks are increasingly critical over whether their ratings are accurate. However, these latest stats reaffirm previous studies touting TV’s strength."

News Sharing: One For All, All For One?

Does it matter which channel you watch for your local news? You may find they are sharing more and more. As ad dollars soften, costs get cut and networks have found a number of ways to improve the bottom line. One avenue is to share services. Networks are now using the same helicopter to report traffic conditions on the roads. Here in New York, the channel 9 sports anchor also delivers sports for channel 5. In addition, networks are sharing cameras to cover major events. "Fox-owned KSAZ, Scripps' KNXV (ABC) and Meredith's KPHO (CBS) relied on their recently formed newsgathering partnership to supply footage of the president's arrival and his motorcade through the city." And lastly cheaper talent is being used to report the news as big salaries can no longer be carried.

"With newsroom budgets under pressure like never before, TV stations in a growing number of markets are suppressing their competitive instincts and forming news co-ops to capture and share video of public meetings, press conferences and other routine events." How far can this go? One network may supply the same news show for two different channels, one at 10 p on one net and again on 11p on another channel. It seems to be the way we are headed.