Analyst Brian Wieser at Pivotal Research Group has been digesting the Nielsen cross-platform data from Q1 of 2014 which we reported on yesterday—and he’s offered some perspective on the viewing data. He calculated that online video via desktop equaled 4.9 billion person-hours, or 3.6% of TV. Smartphone video consumption is one tenth of this amount, he added. Tablet video is not explicitly included in Nielsen’s figures, but Wieser estimates all tablet content (app and mobile web, including video) equates to the same amount of time as online video—“implying to us that 5-6% of total TV consumption occurs on digital devices.”
He also noted that the heaviest users of streaming video continue to dominate streaming video usage: during 1Q 2014 18% of the population drove 96% of streaming, increasing the concentration of streaming video slightly. At the same, this population accounted for a near-proportional amount of TV: the 18% heaviest streaming video users still accounted for 16% of traditional TV viewing.
And Wieser got on his soapbox to preach about ad spending shares. “While we have long-quibbled with the notion that time with media should equate to spending on media, it is worth noting that by our estimates, total spending on TV advertising amounted to $63 billion in 2013.” Meanwhile, total spending on digital advertising amounted to $43 billion, or 68% of TV’s total vs. 35% of time-spent online. “If time did equate to money either too much is being spent on Internet advertising or too little is being spent on TV,” Wieser told clients. “Neither statement is necessarily correct,” he added, “It remains more accurate to consider that ad spending is always a function of ‘least-bad’ alternatives for a given marketer”—with TV still the place where large marketers can achieve reach and frequency for their message.