Trivia: Time Watching Television Versus Online Video?

I’m fairly immersed in the online-video space, but would have had to “phone a friend” if you asked me some of these questions on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

  • Are we consuming more or less television now that we have online video and the mobile players (3 screens)?
  • What percent of our live television viewing has given way to “time shifted” (via DVRs, TiVo, AppleTV and stuff)?
  • How much time do we Americans spend in front of the television versus watching online video?

The answers may surprise you. Try to guess before peeking.

  • As you might have gathered, we’re actually consuming more television according to Nielsen’s “Three Screen Report” (despite the other two screens: mobile and computer).
  • I must be in a small minority because I watch precious little live television. The rest of the nation consumes only about 2 hours of time-shifted television per week, compared to about 35 hours of live television. Obviously our attention differs dramatically. For instance, my kids are blaring Nickelodeon behind me as I type. But I just noticed an ad for Miranda Cosgrove’s new CD, so maybe that counts.
  • Now for the zinger. A single amateur can sometimes command a larger audience than well-known television shows. I just made the graphic below for my book, “Beyond Viral” (Wiley). Pretty wild that one dude can swing 50 million views in the past 30 days (according to TubeMogul). Dane Boedigheimer, who produces GagFilms and AnnoyingOrange, was late to the YouTube party because he was soaking in the now set Metacafe sun… but now he’s knocking out more than 1.6 million views per day.
One YouTube "webstar" commands 50 million views in the past 30 days. That has him rivaling audiences of many well-known television shows.
  • But before you think we’ve all migrated to online video, our average consumption pales when compared to television. We early adopters are still early. Yes the folks that gobble up 35 hours of television are only watching 22 minutes of online video according to Nielsen Wire’s recent chart below. I suppose those 22 minutes might be longer if the majority of us made it past that first 60 seconds (which we don’t according to this way outdated Tubemogul report).
Video consumption by medium by age... seems we're still only snacking online video while we're feasting television.
  • Before you make any major conclusions based on this data, it’s important to remember two things: First, if we looked at a bell curve, we’d observe that these numbers are highly skewed by those that won’t be bothered with online video. I know many people who have abandoned television entirely. Second, this behavior is changing rapidly. For instance, there’s been a 30% plus increase in our simultaneous use of television and web (now I’m hearing Flapjack in the background).
  • I wish it was TreeTrunks or the little hand alien from Bravest Warriors. She’s so soothing.

17 Replies to “Trivia: Time Watching Television Versus Online Video?”

  1. I guessed the first one correct, how did I know this?
    cause I asked the tech savvy people at work and in the hood if they knew who nalts or zefrank was and they all said, “who?”

    The second question I figured out on my own, the topic of reality programming is so big, people are getting fatter and fatter watching live action they never engage in. I still believe if Americans turned off their TV sets everyone would be fit and under weight.

    I could only answer the third question based on the other two, having no actual data. Yet, everyone I know is on the computer. When they watch TV, sneaking time at work, or playing with their phones. However, what they are doing on the computer is reading the news/sports, e-mailing, playing games or shopping. Hard to believe, but some people actually ask me what you tube is, still.

    The next generation will be different though. It’s still pioneering time and if you can think ahead you could make a killing in a number of future markets.

  2. It’s true that the average American couldn’t list a single online-video creator or channel… MAYBE they could name one or two popular videos at best. Although I did get recognized on the pirate ship in Florida, so that makes me feel slightly famous. Haaaa haaa.

  3. Great information Nalts.
    Very interesting to watch how the numbers continue to evolve!

    And as for being recognized, it happens to us quite frequently in our local area. Had some newspaper coverage early on and have done continual local promotion with events we put on like concerts and viewings.
    Despite doing all that, it is still weird to be recognized.
    Even more so when I’m just at Wal-Mart getting groceries!

  4. 35 hours / week?!? What does that do to one’s brain?

    By the way, where did these numbers come from? I find the internet usage hours surprisingly low.

    @1 Should I know who zefrank is?

  5. I still watch TV. Maybe even 35 hours/week, some weeks. Today I’ve been glued to a “Mythbusters” marathon on Discovery. But that’s also while multi-tasking; going on-line, cleaning the house, cooking supper, reading the paper, etc. So a lot of the time it is background noise.

    In a normal week, I probably spend more time listening to the radio, actually. So how do I fit these demographics?

  6. That is a lot of TV. With the exception of a few shows a week, namely House (he’s my hero), I have to be honest and say that most of my viewing is done online and it’s mostly user generated stuff. There’s something about shaky camera points of view and bad jokes that’s a little more identifiable I guess. One of my favorites, besides Nalts obviously, is the Totally Rad Show put out by Revision 3. I would love to see more stuff come out like a Revision 3 to compete with TV.

  7. I watch maybe an hour of television a week.
    compared to several hours a week of online video.

    Clearly, I’m in the minority, but I expect myself to be more in the majority in a few years or so.

  8. @2 not to leave you hanging… those people gleefully now know who you are 😉

    @3 why do you shop at Walmart?

    @4 is you’re google broken?

    There are two things about TV both good and bad
    1. It Controls the masses.
    2. It Controls the masses.

    120 hours in a M-F week
    We sleep 40
    We work 40
    We cook clean socialize, et al. 40

    And we watch 35 hours of TV

    So what the data is saying is, out of 7 days we watch TV 2 whole days a week.

    I don’t have a TV, all my media comes from online, other than a smattering of programs here and there via hulu the only thing I’ve actually gotten hooked into is Lost.
    But I do watch or rather listen to a lot of independent news, no commercials.

    So, if the media resources I partake in don’t count who’s watching my 34 hours of TV and can I charge them?

  9. I shop at Wal-Mart because I’m broke paying off debts like my mortgage.
    If I had my choice, I’d shop at Hy-Vee. That’s at least a regional chain of stores not bent on taking over everything.
    I hope Sam Walton is rolling in his grave as his offspring have ruined his legacy.

  10. I watch TV whilst the laptop sits on my … er lap so I do both! TV is background noise for me, but it is fun how snobby TV presenters speak of YouTube and online video like it is second-rate, gutter broadcasting!

  11. At least when you watch TV, you can change the channel. Pop-ups? Change the channel. Annoying commercials? Change the channel. And changing the channel doesn’t crash your TV. There are no Satanic MS updates loading insidiously in the background, people following what you are watching and “suggesting” other shows you might like, nor annoying IM or FB smileys appearing on your screen. Neilson, yes. Google, NO.

  12. @17: You tell ’em, sister!

    Seriously, I agree with Nalts’ sister. At least you don’t have to wait for TV to buffer. I enjoy watching online video, but it comes with its own set of annoyances.

  13. @12&13
    you guys need filters – use firefox – no popups
    and a faster connection

    and yes, you have to be a bit more tech savvy with a computer because there are so many more things to do and see that you can’t get on the idiot box.

    Further, you’re at the mercy of what the networks projectile vomit into your brain – on line you can go anywhere in the world and communicate with interesting and fascinating people. Like here on this blog 😉

  14. @14: I am very tech-savy. I am actually a middle school computer teacher. I have a fast connection, pop-up blocking software, etc., but you still run into problems streaming media on occasion. I even have a computer connected to my TV so I can watch videos, Hulu, etc. on the big screen.

    Trust me, I LOVE online media. And I hate a lot of what the networks offer. All I am saying is that it is still much easier (and more comfortable, in most cases) for the average joe to watch TV than it is to watch online media. That’s all.

  15. I’m pretty happy with the ad blocker I use with Google Chrome. I don’t even get the annoying in video ads any more.

    I really wish I could pay for a better internet connection, but I’m stuck with the occasionally decent, often crummy service my apartment complex has contracts with.

    At least I go to my office at school if I really need a fast internet connection.

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