Must Be the Big Screens, More People Watching Television

Aug 30, 2005

By George Anderson

“Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do.”

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnez) on “I Love Lucy”

Just when you thought consumers in the 18 to 34 year-old group were turning away from traditional media such as television, it turns out they’re not.

Nielsen Media Research reports that its local-people-meter (LPM) system found a sizeable ( calls its “startling”) increase in the number of 18 to 34 year-olds watching local television in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Comparing the number of viewers from July 2004 and July 2005, Nielsen found viewership increases of increases between a high of 83 percent in D.C. and Philadelphia and 10 percent in L.A.

Among the research findings’ highlighted by Nielsen were:

  • The greatest percent increase for viewership by day-part were early weekday mornings (5am-7am), overnight on weekdays (1am-5am) and Saturday (7am- 5pm).
  • Many more men were watching television during the daytime than found in previous studies using other tracking methods.
  • Primetime viewership was higher.
  • Weekend television viewing was up.

Before using the LPM system, Nielsen based its reporting on information obtained from its set meters and consumer diaries. The increase in viewership by 18 to 34 year-olds is
consistent with increases seen by the company for earlier studies involving teens using the LPM system.

Moderator’s Comment: What does Nielsen’s most current local television viewership research mean for retailers and
other marketers targeted 18 to 34 year-olds and teenagers?

George Anderson – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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4 Comments on "Must Be the Big Screens, More People Watching Television"

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Mark Lilien
16 years 8 months ago

Although new media come along from time to time, old media still live on. TV didn’t replace radio or movies and the Internet didn’t replace any of them. Newspapers still make monopoly profits and although magazines don’t have as many ads as they used to, there seems to be no shortage of them. Have you heard about any lack of junk mail? Smart advertisers measure their media effectiveness, so the Nielsen news shouldn’t change anything for them. Do you think Nielsen should be asked for refunds based on their past inaccurate measures? Do you think they’ll apologize?

Nikki Baird
Nikki Baird
16 years 8 months ago

As Nielsen says themselves, it’s not that viewership is up, it’s that they are now more accurately measuring viewership that they long suspected was under-reported.

The real question, especially for 18-34 age group, is what else were they doing while they were ‘watching’ TV? Because I don’t think recall has improved any despite this “improvement” in viewership.

Karen Kingsley
Karen Kingsley
16 years 8 months ago

To answer nmbaird’s important question: they were doing almost everything: listening to music, playing games, internet surfing, reading. The degree of multitasking while consuming media is off the charts for every demo, but particularly high in the young male group.

A year ago, everyone was asking what happened to this group, and we now know: they’ve diluted their viewing times (losing the emphasis on prime time); they’ve moved to cable channels from network, and they are not paying complete attention when they watch. This all makes them an elusive group to capture and one that requires more than one media choice.

Franklin Benson
Franklin Benson
16 years 8 months ago
It is exceptionally rare that the tv has my full attention. I would guess that I really intently watch for less than a half-hour a week, but a tv is on generally all hours of the weekend and weekday evenings. This LPM item puzzles me – how does it work? There isn’t enough information in this article to pass judgment on its potential effectiveness. Years ago I was in a household that was sent a diary to be completed… this was at an address that consisted of 6 apartments, and a total of 7 or 8 tvs, with 6 residents watching them. We were all supposed to fill in what we watched, but it was just way too complicated to be feasible. On top of that, the tendency was for people to write down what they WANTED to watch (shows that they wanted to have high ratings), not what they actually watched. The accuracy was so poor as to destroy the credibility of ratings in my eyes. Anyhow, this LPM, even if it somehow tracks… Read more »

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