The amount of time Americans spent watching television declined in the first quarter -- even as overall viewing increased, according to a new report from Nielsen.
The average TV viewer spent 4 hours, 38 minutes a day watching TV, a decrease of six minutes from the same period a year ago. But viewing actually is growing as audiences turn to new devices such as tablets and smartphones, Nielsen found.
“Shifts in the distribution of time spent across screens and devices demonstrate that more and more of us are taking advantage of the increased ability to determine what we watch, how we watch and where we watch,” Nielsen observed in its latest Cross-Platform Report examining media consumption in the home.
More than 15% of U.S. households own tablet computers, and smartphones, including the Apple iPhone or devices powered by Google Inc.'s Android operating system, are more prevalent in homes than digital video recorders, according to Nielsen. Today, nearly 36 million mobile phone owners watch videos on their smartphones.
Game consoles have emerged as an entertainment hub in the home. People who own a Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii are spending on average 2 hours and 48 minutes a week streaming video, Nielsen said.
“Whether to watch shows they haven’t seen, catch up on favorite shows they missed or revisit shows from their past, consumers are finding ways to use new-generation gaming devices as gateways to media content,” according to the Cross-Platform Report.