Audience Update: VOD, TV & Net

Nielsen Media Research teamed their research with Comcast’s to establish data on audience usage of VOD. They tested 180 households in Philadelphia during June-August last year. The key finding, for me, is that audiences are still using VOD AND scheduled TV — I don’t like using “scheduled TV” as part of the TV experience, for me, is serendipity: how about SSTV? But, back to the point. Audiences are using BOTH, not one above the other. Why? Because each has it own affordances, its own unique traits. This is what cross-media is all about: a wider range of media that audiences CHOOSE according to their availability, access, desired experience, preference…not replacing fixed media with new media and having convergent devices (in the end there can only be one convergent device!) everywhere. Here are the results, and the full report with nifty charts is downloadable here.

“This study confirms that VOD complements the traditional TV viewing experience. In addition to watching programming not available on traditional TV, customers are using VOD to learn about shows they may not have seen before or ‘catch up’ on past episodes of series they’ve missed.”

  • 75% of households with access to VOD used it at least once during the three-month study, indicating a high VOD sampling rate. VOD users averaged 69 minutes of viewing per day.
  • Households that tuned to Comcast’s ON DEMAND service watched traditional television for an average of 723 minutes per day — 9% higher than all digital cable households and 38% higher than all cable households.
  • The VOD audience is a younger audience. 18-34 year olds comprised 37% of all VOD minutes viewed compared to 20% of all traditional television minutes. Children age 2-11 accounted for 19% of all VOD minutes, but only 9% of all traditional television minutes. In contrast, viewers over age 54 accounted for only 3% of VOD minutes compared to 30% of all traditional television minutes.
  • Free VOD (including shows from ad-supported cable networks, a library of movies, music programming and more) was the most sampled VOD content, viewed by about 42% of VOD homes during the survey. However, subscription VOD content (from services like HBO, Showtime and Starz) accounted for the most minutes (54%) of viewing, with VOD homes watching an average of 670 minutes of this content over the three months.

And, not only are audiences watching VOD and SSTV, they’re online for an equal amount of time too!:

Juniper Research’s report, U.S. Entertainment and Media Consumer Survey, 2005, (released 30 Jan 06) details how the average audience member is using 14 hours of the Net, which is about equal, they say, to the time spent watching TV. Here are some other findings:

  • Even the most intensive users of newspapers and magazines spend less time reading these publications than they do online or watching TV
  • 37% of all online users report that they spend less time reading books because of their online activities
  • Intensive online users are the most likely demographic to use advanced Internet technology, such as streaming radio and RSS