All Things Considered: Comparable Metrics Offer a Solid Line of Sight for the Industry

All Things Considered: Comparable Metrics Offer a Solid Line of Sight for the Industry

Consumers have it good. The proliferation of devices has afforded them the luxury of connecting to content in their own ways and at their own leisure.

However, measuring the value of users across different devices—because of differences in the nature of the platforms themselves—have not historically aligned. After all, tech sector players often rely on reach while networks use viewing in the average minute as the basis for many advertisement deals.

For the first time, Nielsen’s Q1 2015 Total Audience Report focuses on the reach of audiences on different devices, as well as how often consumers are utilizing these devices and how long they are doing so.

“We’re excited to showcase a true apple-to-apples comparison over different consumer options and ways to both view and listen,” says Dounia Turrill, SVP Insights, Nielsen. “And by doing do, we have given the industry an impartial look not just on how many consumers are connecting with devices and platforms but how much and for how long.”

So what devices are consumers using?

Radio and traditional television still have the largest reach of any of the platforms analyzed. Specifically, radio reaches nearly 223 million adult listeners weekly and television reaches over 209 million adult viewers—that’s 93% and 87% of all U.S. adults, respectively.

Among digital devices, smartphones actually had the greatest weekly reach at over 167 million or 70% of all U.S. adults. What’s more, while much attention on digital media focuses on digital native “Millennials,” more adults 35-49 years old use PCs, smartphones and tablets in a week than consumers 18-34 years old.

Measuring how many eyes and ears these devices and platforms reach is just one way to look at consumption.

How long consumers spend on them differs greatly, not just among the ways to connect, but among age and race/ethnic demographics as well. In this regard, television and radio still top the list, with all adults spending about 36 and 13 hours, respectively, on these platforms weekly. However, adults 18-34 years old spend nearly 10 hours per week with smartphones—about an hour more than they spend on PCs and tablets combined!

Among multicultural consumers, black viewers spend over 51 hours weekly with television—over 42% higher than the general population. And Hispanic consumers notch the greatest weekly time spent on both radio (13 hours 38 minutes) and on smartphones (9 hours 54 minutes), be it with video, streaming audio or utilizing a social network.

The share of overall time spent among television, radio and digital platforms (PC, smartphone and tablets) also found clear cut generational differences.

While 55% of adults’ overall time spent comes from television, among people 18-34 a tug of war between linear and digital has seemingly ensued, with nearly 36% of this young group’s time spent consuming content coming from the latter. Advertisers looking for a stable medium across generational boundaries might want to consider radio. Among all the demos, radio remained a consistent near 20% of overall time spent.  

For more information, download our Q1 2015 Total Audience report