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Nielsen Reports Provide Perspective Into Americans’ Media Habits

2 minute read | January 2016

As technology continues to evolve and audiences fragment, Nielsen remains committed to providing the industry with insights around today’s total audience, no matter the device, delivery or platform. To do so, we’re publishing two unique report series—our Total Audience and Comparable Metrics reports—around consumers’ device behaviors and media consumption.

Building on both the first– and second-quarter Total Audience Reports—in which we looked at comparable metrics and media usage throughout the day, respectively—we analyzed how economic factors can affect viewing across the medias in the third-quarter Total Audience report. The evolving media landscape has led to growth in not just cross-platform viewing options but purchase ones as well. Consumers have a variety of choices to make with their discretionary income when it comes to connecting with content. They can choose from expensive Internet-connected TVs and game consoles to relatively cheap multimedia devices and increasingly ubiquitous mobile devices where music and video are readily available. This report also looked at device and platform penetration, as well as usage, for race and ethnic breaks.

However, historically, measurement metrics have limited the industries’ ability to process and integrate data across mediums into a cohesive understanding of the U.S. population. Last year, Nielsen released its first-ever Comparable Metrics Report, using data from second-quarter 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, to understand the various medias available to consumers today using “apples-to-apples” metrics.

As Nielsen continues to move toward total audience measurement, we think that it’s vital to look at different platforms through a common lens and ones that allow the industry to equate and analyze users and usage in a fair, standard way. On Jan. 6, 2016, Nielsen released its third-quarter Comparable Metrics report, which aims to eliminate confusion around definitions and terminology across mediums and provide clarity through metrics that can easily be compared. This report helps clarify basic measurement metrics by addressing three critical concepts—how many, how often and how long—to provide a cohesive understanding of the U.S. population.

Both report series are part of Nielsen’s continued efforts to present more insights into device usage and media consumption behaviors as consumers navigate new ways to connect.