The Nielsen Company’s new TV/Internet Convergence Panel, which electronically measures both television and Internet usage in the same homes, has found that television viewing and online video streaming are complementary activities.
According to the convergence panel, the heaviest users of the Internet are also among the heaviest viewers of television: the top fifth of Internet users spend more than 250 minutes per day watching television, compared to 220 minutes of television viewing by people who do not use the Internet at all.
Nielsen found that the reverse is true as well – the lowest consumers of television have the lowest usage levels for the Internet.
Nielsen also found that nearly 31 percent of in-home Internet activity takes place while the user is watching television, demonstrating that there is a significant amount of simultaneous Internet and television usage.
Conversely, about 4 percent of television viewing occurs when the consumer is also using the Internet.
The Nielsen TV/Internet Convergence Panel, which launched earlier this month, is the first panel to use Nielsen technology and methodology to directly measure the interaction between TV and Internet by the same people in the same household.
The sample consists of nearly 3000 people in more than 1000 households who were either previously part of Nielsen’s live national TV sample and have agreed to continue to be monitored by Nielsen, or new homes installed specifically for convergence research.
Television viewing and Internet usage are collected in the panel using Nielsen’s electronic People Meter and downloadable NetSight meter software.
The panel was created as part of Nielsen’s Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2) initiative, which aims to measure video across a variety of media platforms.
Other findings from Nielsen’s TV/Internet Convergence Panel:
* Roughly 50% of the Convergence Panel panelists had viewed some streaming content online. The demos streaming the most included Female Teens (82%), Male Teens (64%), Men 18-34 (57%) and Men 35-54 (55%).
* Nearly 60% of panelists and more than 80% of people who watched TV and used the Internet that month had simultaneous sessions – watching TV and being online at the same minute. This group tends to be very heavy users of both TV and Internet.
* Teens are the most likely demographic to have simultaneous TV/Internet usage, but Adults 35-54 have the most simultaneous usage minutes.
“With our Convergence Panel we can now, for the first time, observe what could only be guessed at before – how television viewing and Internet usage interact and affect each other,” said Howard Shimmel, senior vice president for client insights, The Nielsen Company.
“It is too early to draw any firm conclusions about behavior but the early trends seem to indicate that online usage is complementing, not substituting for, traditional television viewing. We will be watching this trend carefully to see how television viewing drives Internet usage and visa versa.”
Subscribing clients will receive monthly reports from Nielsen starting in October 2008. By the end of 2008, clients can access the Convergence Panel research through Nielsen’s NPower software.