Television is king, although younger viewers turn to the Web

The stereotypical picture of senior citizens spending their days in front of the television is not far off from the truth, although the nation's youth is increasingly turning to the Internet, Nielsen finds.

The average American 65 and older watches nearly 178 hours of television a month, far above the national average of 127 hours a month, up 4% from the previous year, according to findings published today by the Nielsen Company. However, an increasing number of people are using timeshifting technologies.

Made popular by TiVo, and now a staple of DVR offerings industry-wide, usage was up 56% to nearly 6 hours per month. Usage in this category was highest among adults 25 to 34, which consumed 9 hours and 28 minutes of time-shifted programming.


Of the six in ten US households with cable, about one-fourth have DVR capabilities, although the total usage is less than five percent of all television viewing.

Video viewing on the Internet is about two hours and 19 minutes, and is most prevalent among the the nation's youth in terms of percentage of total Internet time. "Web video is changing the definition of the Internet for those under the age of 24. Those under 24 use the Internet less than older users but spend a greater percent of time viewing video," Nielsen marketing chief John Burbank said.

As for those who surf the Internet most, that belongs to the 35-to-44 demographic: total Internet usage averages 38 hours and 47 minutes per month.

All in all, it seems to indicate that television isn't dead, and is still growing, albeit at a much slower pace. "Commercial television is alive and well - growing 1% year over year - despite the rapid adoption of other platforms," Burbank added.

New to consumer's consumption habits are the viewing of videos on the mobile phone, where the average is three and a quarter hours. Again here, the nations youth (12-17) lead the way with nearly five and a half hours, with those numbers decreasing with age.

Burbank said his company estimates the number of mobile video users at four million, but said the rapid rate of adoption may be related to the "always available" nature of the mobile device.

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