Earlier this month, Nielsen published their “A2/M2 Three Screen Report” for the second quarter of 2009. (You can download it for free at http://en-us.nielsen.com/forms/report_forms/A2_M2_Three_Screen_Report. This overview report has some fascinating information about America’s viewing habits, and I was particularly interested in online viewing.
The graph doesn’t show direct TV watching; those numbers are more than 100 hours for all age groups, and graphing that would obscure the other information. I started to compare the timeshifted TV watching with video from the Internet, because these offer the viewer control over what content you watch and when. The Internet numbers are small for the most part, but note that the 18 to 24 year old bracket watched almost as much online TV as they did timeshifted. I have to think that this group is the bellwether for the rest of us, as they are likely to spend more time exploring technology and eventually will be the adult mainstream. As you move to the older age groups, the proportion of time spent online viewing compared with timeshifted viewing declines more or less steadily.
Then I decided to graph the mobile TV usage just for kicks, and I was blown away by the results. While 18 to 24 year olds watch an appreciable amount of video on their cell phones, it was the teens who have taken to this new mode in droves. They watched more video on their phones than they did timeshifted or Internet video. Note that the Nielsen survey of mobile video usage actually only starts with 13 year olds, instead of the 12 year olds covered by the other numbers, so the teen results could actually be higher.
So if the young adults are leading the way for Internet television, perhaps its the teenagers who will drive mobile TV forward.