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minutes might be longer if the majority of us made it past that first 60 seconds (which we don’t according to this way outdated Tubemogul report).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.