Two studies have just been released about how and where Americans are watching television. Of course, television is a relative term right now since so many enjoy their favorite shows using different platforms.
Several years ago, media owners, advertisers and media agencies formed a group called the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM). Not surprisingly, this group needs a better way to measure video viewership. For decades, Nielsen tracked television viewing habits using viewer diaries. Eventually, people meters and set meters were introduced, incorporating technology into measurement. And now, with widespread use of computers, tablets and mobile devices to access videos, the way in which Americans watch “TV” has forever changed.
The two new studies are pilot tests intended to measure consumption of video content across various platforms, especially online and mobile devices. In the past, it has been more difficult to measure usage on these platforms as compared to television. The challenge for these studies was to accurately measure viewership across a single group of consumers – those who watch video on all three media formats – rather than combining data from different groups.
Both studies produced a similar major finding – that growing viewership on newer platforms such as online and mobile devices is not reducing interest in watching television. In fact, TV continues to play a dominant role and it appears the newer platforms are complementary to television.
These pilot test results should be encouraging for CIMM members who have so much at stake. Not only did the two studies produce similar results, but video viewership may actually be increasing because people have a choice when watching their favorite shows. For public relations professionals, the findings confirm video content is an important source for messages about products, services and issues, whether online, on mobile devices or through traditional television sets found in millions of U.S. homes.
On a side note, and another example of the growing importance of TV viewing over the Web, the black television content ratings labels that tell families what to expect in an upcoming show, e.g., TV-PG, will soon be rolled out across the same shows shown via the Internet.