Online video consumption up, TV viewing down among Boomers, too

By jimoneill

Boomers are watching more digital video, too

Think it’s only Millennials and Gen Xers who are watching online video? Think again.

Older viewers (50-64 years old) time spent watching digital video daily increased 72% in the second quarter to 19 minutes, from 11 minutes in 2013, Nielsen today reported.

The increase in digital time combines with a six-minute-per-day decline in the amount of traditional TV Baby Boomers watched. While the reduction is seemingly a drop in the bucket in terms of their overall viewing time – some six hours and 12 minutes – is significant that the OTT time is going up.

“Today we are challenged with an important transition in how media is consumed,” Dounia Turrill, senior vice president for insights at Nielsen, wrote in the report. “Yet, it’s not just a young versus ‘older’ story.”


Millennials, in fact, continue to whittle away at the amount of traditional TV they watch; it was down 2% among 18-34 year olds at the same time digital viewing jumped 53%. Digital viewing among 35-49 year olds increased even more, growing by 80% over the 12-month period.

Nielsen also said overall viewing time of traditional TV in the U.S. continued to drop. Adults averaged 4 hours and 36 minutes of viewing daily, down 12 minutes from the second quarter a year ago.

In the same time span, viewing video on smartphones increased nearly 33% to 85 minutes from 64 minutes in 2013. Over the past two years, mobile viewing on phones has increased more than 77%.

“Never before have we seen this level of fragmentation and yet, the sum of media consumed is growing,” said Turrill. “In fact, year-over-year among the younger 18-34 demo, media consumption has grown 4% overall, 2% among Hispanics, 8% among Blacks, and 10% among young Asians.

The most rapid growth in digital consumption, Nielsen said, was among viewers older than 35.

There were some other factoids that should cause upset tummies in the pay-TV world.

Nielsen said the number of TV homes wired for pay TV dropped to 100.9 million from 102.7 million in the same quarter in 2013, further evidence of change afoot in the space. Household formation is accelerating, but penetration by pay-TV providers has dropped. Cable operators in the period saw subscribers drop to 54.1 million from 56.6 million a year ago, a drop of more than 4%. Satellite homes dipped to 34.3 million from 35.2 million a year ago, the hero in the crowd, the telco sector, saw wired homes increase to 12.4 million homes in the quarter from 10.9 a year ago.

“The overarching data suggests that the growth of media consumption is and will continue to be in digital for all consumers,” Turrill said. “We can surmise that having tasted the freedom of choice, the American consumer will not go back to old ways.”

What’s it all mean?

We’re at the tipping point, with digital media delivery increasingly gaining converts among all age groups… and, in a similar fashion, service providers, broadcasters and content owners also are looking to leverage that momentum.

Stay tuned, the best part is just beginning.

Follow me on Twitter @JimONeillMedia


: Online video consumption up, TV viewing down among Boomers, too