Nielsen: As the Media Universe Grows, Ad-Supported Content Remains a Preferred Source

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The growing consumption of media among consumers coupled with the increasing availability of newer platforms is changing the way marketers and advertisers look at and adapt to the industry. Despite these changes over the last 15 years, ad-supported media is still far more dominant and successful than perception may indicate.
 
KEY HIGHLIGHTS The FULL post is below.
  • About 86% of the share of time spent on media platforms for adults was with ad-supported content in 2017. That number has remained relatively flat over the past decade with 2002 having the share of ad-supported content at 89%.
  • Engagement with ad-supported content has kept pace while more and more devices have been introduced into the media ecosystem. Penetration percentages for newer platforms have grown with some approaching ubiquity. For example, about two-thirds of homes have an internet-enabled connected device capable of streaming content to a television set, which includes enabled smart TVs, multimedia devices and video game consoles
  • Time spent with ad-supported content has grown and maintained a consistent ratio with overall time spent. In fact, the amount of time consumers are allocating toward media is expanding, increasing by more than 25 hours between 2002 and 2017.

The full report can be found HERE–and immediately below.

Consumers today have access to an entire universe of content at their fingertips. Yet while the media landscape expands, the type of content consumers are spending time with has remained fairly consistent. Ad-supported content remains the medium that consumers gravitate toward the majority of the time in their viewing habits.

% Share of Time Spent Viewing
2002 2007 2012 2017
Ad Supported 89% 85% 84% 86%
Non-Ad Supported 11% 15% 16% 14%
Source: Nielsen. Note: Percent share of time spent viewing across platforms for U.S. adults 18+.

According to Nielsen data, the share of time spent with ad-supported content on platforms (such as TV, radio, smartphones, video games and tablets) for adults in 2017 was 86%—a number that’s remained relatively flat over the past decade. In 2002, when avenues of consumption were mainly via television and radio, ad-supported content accounted for an 89% share of consumers’ time spent.

These statistics have even more significance when considering the availability of different devices over time and the ultimately substantial growth in time spent with media overall. Engagement with ad-supported content has kept pace while more and more devices have been introduced into the media ecosystem.

Device Ownership Percentages
  2002 2007 2012 2017
TV HH (% of Total US Homes) 98 98 96 96
VCR 90 70 36 0
DVD 88 84 69
Video Game 38 45 42
DVR 22 47 55
PC Owner w/ Internet 71 79 81
Tablet 19 64
Enabled Smart TV 34
Subscription Video on Demand  (SVOD) 62
Smartphones 89
Multimedia Device 36
Source: Nielsen. Note: TV penetration based on % of total U.S. homes. Device penetration based on U.S. TV homes. Based on scaled installed counts as of December of each year via Nielsen NPower/National Panel.

While 96% of U.S. homes have a television, other devices are slowly reaching ubiquity as well. Although the rate of penetration for PCs has slowed, these devices can still be found in 80% of U.S. TV homes. Meanwhile, tablet and smartphone penetration levels have quickly grown to 64% and 89%, respectively. Subscription video on demand (SVOD) services have surpassed penetration levels of their time-shifted brethren, the DVR. In regards to other newer platforms, about two-thirds of homes have an internet-enabled connected device capable of streaming content to a television set, which includes enabled smart TVs, multimedia devices and video game consoles.

Engagement with ad-supported content has remained strong despite such high adoption rates for so many devices, in part because consumers’ time with media hasn’t remained a finite resource. In fact, the amount of time consumers are allocating toward media is expanding, increasing by more than 25 hours between 2002 and 2017. Time spent with ad-supported content has grown and maintained a consistent ratio with overall time spent.


Weekly Time Spent with Media
2002 2007 2012 2017
Ad-Supported Time Spent 42:50 43:22 49:41 64:55
Total Time Spent 48:08 51:03 59:29 75:38
% Share of Ad-Supported Time Spent Viewing 89% 85% 84% 86%
Source: Nielsen. Note: Q2 weekly time spent with media across platforms in hours and minutes for U.S. adults 18+.

 

Consider this, in second-quarter 2007, the average amount of time spent with media among adults was just over 50 hours per week. In second-quarter 2017, that number increased to over 75 hours per week, nearly 65 hours of which are spent with ad-supported platforms. Since second-quarter 2012, the average amount of time spent with ad-supported TV, radio, and digital platforms has grown by over 15 hours—an increase of 30% to 2017. When looking as far back as second-quarter 2002, that same number exceeds 20 hours.

Although consumption of ad-supported media has varied over the past 15 years, it is still far more dominant and successful than perception may indicate. Today, ad-supported content remains a consumption stalwart as consumers’ media palates expand and consumption habits swell. While such revenue models have existed for some time, they seemingly have the versatility and adaptability to keep pace with an ultimately dynamic and fragmented landscape. This new age of media consumption allows marketers and advertisers to reach consumers in more ways than ever before and do so with ease.

For more insights, visit the Nielsen Newswire.

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