U.S. Adults Consume an Entire Hour More of Media Per Day Than They Did Just Last Year

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Nielsen’s Total Audience Report

For daily total of 10 hours, 39 minutes

If you feel like you’re spending more time than ever before watching and streaming content, you’re right.

U.S. adults spent 10 hours, 39 minutes a day consuming media in the first quarter of 2016. That’s up a full hour from the first quarter of 2015, and it’s thanks to a substantial increase in smartphone and tablet usage, according to Nielsen’s Q1 2016 Total Audience Report.

The report, which was released today, also found that half of all U.S. TV households now have access to at least one SVOD (subscription video on demand) service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon. That’s the same percentage of households with DVRs.

Live TV usage among U.S. adults is still declining, down three minutes from the first quarter 2015, but not as rapidly as in recent years. Nielsen notes the live TV decline was much more pronounced between 2013 and 2014, when it dropped by 16 minutes.

During the first three months of 2016, U.S. adults spent an average of four hours, 31 minutes watching live TV each day, which represented 42 percent of their overall daily media consumption. That’s three minutes less than the four minute, 33 second daily consumption last year, a decline of just 1 percent.

total audience report

The total media consumption across all devices and platforms jumped one hour from the first quarter of 2015, to 10 hours, 39 minutes. (A year earlier, there had only been a seven-minute year-over-year jump in daily media consumption.) That’s mostly due to smartphone use, which has soared 37 minutes, and tablet use, which has increased 12 minutes. Internet on PC jumped 10 minutes, while multimedia devices, including Apple TV and Roku, were up four minutes. Video game consoles and DVR use was flat, while DVD use dipped one minute and live TV dropped three minutes year over year.

Nielsen’s data indicates that consumers aren’t pulling away from linear TV, but instead are making additional time for these new devices.

However, most of the consumption on non-TV devices came from the top 20 percent of users for each category. Those top 20 percent account for 87 percent of in-home PC streaming, 83 percent of smartphone video, and 71 percent of connected TV devices like Apple TV, Roku and Xbox. But the top 20 percent of TV and DVR users only represent 52 percent of the total overall minutes watched on those devices.

Netflix, Amazon and Hulu catch up to DVRs

Meanwhile, Nielsen also found that SVODs like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have finally caught up to DVRs in U.S. households and are about to surpass them.

Half of all U.S. TV households now have access to at least one SVOD service. That’s the same percentage of households with DVRs.

But while DVR penetration has flatlined in recent years, hovering between 49 and 50 percent, SVOD penetration has increased rapidly, up from 41 percent just 18 months ago. So expect SVOD households to leave DVR households in the dust by later this year.

Currently, 29 percent of homes have both DVR and SVOD access—an increase of almost 20 percent from last year—and 72 percent of homes have either DVR or SVOD access, which is up from 67 percent last year.

The full Nielsen’s Q1 2016 Total Audience Report is available here.