Yesterday, Nielsen released its Q1 ’19 Total Audience Report, which among other things showed that connected TV consumption continues to dominate mobile video. For adults 18+ Nielsen found connected TV usage was 54 minutes per day (up from 46 minutes per day in Q1 ’18), while usage of video focused apps on smartphones increased to 13 minutes per day (up from 10 minutes per day in Q1 ’18). Tablet video remained even smaller at 7 minutes per day, up from 5 minutes per day in Q1 ’18 (see image below).
On last Friday’s podcast, Colin and I discussed how connected TV and mobile video can co-exist. Yet Nielsen’s new data - showing that connected TV generates four times more usage as mobile video - underscores how Americans’ consumption patterns are shaping up. While high-profile mobile-first video ventures like Quibi will target younger, mobile-centric viewers and social video will remain essential, most mainstream video providers will likely focus on connected TV distribution going forward. That’s especially true for longer-form providers who can tap into the growing popularity and higher profitability of 30-second spots.
Connected TV gains are not only being spurred by the proliferation of high-quality long-form content, but also by the ongoing declines in linear TV. Nielsen’s data showed a decline in average usage of Live+Time-Shifted TV from 4 hours, 46 minutes in Q1 ’18 to 4 hours, 27 minutes in Q1 ’19. Nielsen attributed this to a tough comparison with the 2018 Winter Olympics, though linear has been trending down for a while.
Still, old habits die hard. Survey results Nielsen released found 58% of viewers simply tuning into favorite channels when they didn’t know exactly what they wanted to watch, with just 33% browsing menus on SVOD services (note the gap for 18-34 year-olds was narrower at 52% to 45%).
Nielsen’s takeaway was that SVOD services’ algorithmic recommendations still have a long way to go. 18-34 year-olds invest the most time when trying to find something at 9.4 minutes vs. 7.4 minutes for 18+ overall. And 66% of 18+ already know exactly what they want to watch, so content discovery on the TV itself is only done by a minority of viewers anyway.