People Aren’t Watching Live TV As Much, But They’re Still Watching A Lot Of TV

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In case you hadn’t noticed, Americans watch TV a bit differently today than they did 50 years ago. But just even though many people aren’t sitting down to view programs live as they air — or even soon after on a DVR — they’re still getting their fill of TV content.

Nielsen says in a new report that viewers are shifting away from TV, but not quite as sharply, AdWeek notes.

That report found that the decline in live TV numbers has started to plateau: in the second quarter of 2016, adults spent an average of four hours and nine minutes watching live TV, down two minutes from the same time a year ago.

A separate report from the Video Advertising Bureau called Requiem For A Stream: The Relationship Between TV Brands & Video Streaming [PDF] says a measly 6% of the U.S. population is doing 87% of the streaming. And much of that time, they’re watching TV: 67% of Hulu users choose network TV shows to stream, while 44% of Netflix users go for TV shows as well.

It’s all about the combination: perhaps you’re a fan of a network TV show but you missed the live airing of your show, so you turn to Hulu the next day to watch it. The next week, maybe your butt is firmly planted on the couch all night and you don’t miss one second of live viewing.

Advertisers shouldn’t be worried about their TV ad dollars going to waste, however, as VAB says TV reach “has remained stable despite streaming growth.” In other words, TV is being watched, but just not how it used to be.

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