Streaming Behavior Insights A New ‘Total Audience’ Focal Point

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The latest quarterly Nielsen Total Audience Report is out, and in addition to current media trends at large, more insight and data on the ever-growing world of streaming has gotten added attention from the nation’s dominant audience measurement and consumer data company.


“We think this report covers a substantial, relatively enigmatic aspect of it,” Nielsen notes.

Much has been discussed about how audiences are inundated with choice when it comes to picking not only what to watch, but how to watch it.

As such, one of the big insights Nielsen takes on in this report is on how people are choosing the content that they’re streaming. In addition, there’s a section that examines which attributes of streaming services are the most important to consumers as well updates on traditional and digital media platform usage.

Key Highlights of the 32-page Nielsen Q3 2018 Total Audience Report include the following points on streaming behaviors:

  • Streaming Devices and Services Continue Their Ascent.

  • Enabled smart TV penetration grew to 41% in September 2018 from 32% in September 2017 as users continue to replace their older television sets.

  • Internet enabled TV-connected devices — enabled smart TVs, internet connected devices (i.e. Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV), and enabled game consoles—can be found in 68% of U.S. households, up from 63% in September 2017.

  • Streaming Video on Demand (SVOD) content is now available in 67% of television households, compared to 61% one year ago. Year over year growth is also occurring among households of all races and ethnicities. Eight out of ten Asian American, seven out of ten Hispanic, and six out of ten Black households subscribe to an SVOD service.

  • While Adoption of Newer Devices Has Increased, So Has Their Usage—Regardless of Age.

  • Time spent on TV-connected devices and app/web on smartphones increased across all demographic groups. Time per day on smartphones increased by 23 minutes for both adults 18-34, more than any other group or platform.

  • Older demographic group’s share of daily time spent with TV-connected devices and app/web on a smartphone increased from Q3 2017 to Q3 2018.

  • Inundated with choice, Streaming Video and Audio Users Are Making Their Preferences Known.

  • According to the MediaTech Trender Survey, two-thirds of audio (67%) and video streaming (66%) users are influenced by recommendations from family and friends when making streaming selections. Meanwhile, 67% of video streaming users and 56% of audio streaming users refer back to existing programming they used to watch or listen to on broadcast media as that content is now more accessible.

  • Users want access to a broad variety of content (57%) while using technology and an interface that is easy to navigate (56%). Niche content is also desirable, as 43% want access to local programming, 38% are looking for specific networks, and 35% want the ability to stream live sports.

Among the other key findings:

U.S. Adults spend 10 hours and 30 minutes per day connected to media, the same amount as one year ago.

Adults 50-64 spend more time per day on media than any other age group.

Adults 18-34 spend over one-third of their daily media usage on smartphones.

Black adults spend nearly 13 hours per day across all media

92% of U.S. adults listen to radio each week

vMVPDS exist in 3.7% of all TV households as of September 2018

Enabled smart TV ownership had the largest year-over-year growth for all races and ethnicities


The Nielsen Q3 2018 Total Audience Report is chock full of information of importance to broadcast media executives.

To download the entire report, simply click here:

NIELSEN – The Q3 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report