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Measuring Audience in Old vs. New Advertising Platforms: Analysis, Research, Facts


According to Nielsen, the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day – this translates to 8 hours/week, which equals 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year! That means by age 65, a person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube…

However, as we saw with Alex and Kristen’s posts, the accuracy of audience measurements in both new and old platforms is definitely questionable. But, even if the numbers are slightly off the mark, the overall findings show that Americans are tuning into each platform more than ever before!

Let’s look at TV…

Traditional TV:

According to Nielsen, 29.9 percent of TV-owning households in the U.S. have four or more televisions – that’s close to one-third of the 115 million domestic domiciles that have at least one television set. Among the other TV households, 25.1 percent have three sets, 28.3 percent have two, and 16.7 percent have one TV. As you might expect, that many televisions translates to some lofty numbers in other TV-related sectors. Nielsen found that 103.6 million U.S. homes are cable- or satellite-ready.
Approximately 51 million American homes have digital cable.

Internet TV:

More than 67% of online Americans now report that they have streamed or downloaded digital video content from the internet. Two-thirds of Americans now own a video-enabled mobile device, including iPods, cell phones, and laptop computers. Of Americans age 13-54, 65.7% of them have at least one video-enabled mobile device. A recent study revealed that 50 percent of the 300 million consumers polled were viewing Internet TV on a weekly basis.

A Combination:

Nielsen said in a report that 57 percent of TV viewers in the U.S. who have Internet access use both mediums at the same time at least once a month. The Nielsen study found the average TV viewer who uses the Internet simultaneously does that for 2 hours and 40 minutes a month, and that 28 percent of the time they are on the Web at home, they are also watching television.

And now Radio…

Traditional Radio:

As you’d expect, total listening hours on traditional radio have tanked among younger listeners over the past ten years.  In 2010, young adults ages 12-24 are spending an average of 1 hour and 24 minutes daily on traditional radio, down from 2:43 in 2000. However, the same survey found that 88 percent of those surveyed discover new music through traditional radio, a figure that narrowly falls short of personal recommendations (at 90 percent).  But it easily tops formats like YouTube (72 percent), social networking sites (56 percent), and even internet radio stations from Pandora,, and Yahoo Music (42 percent).

Online Radio

The total weekly usage of online radio has doubled in the past five years, netting out at 9 hours 47 minutes per week. In fact, the audience for Web radio has doubled every five years since 2001 and now exceeds 57 million teens and adults each week, or 22 percent of Americans 12 and older.

In conclusion, we’ve learned that it is overall very difficult to accurately measure the audience watching TV and listening to the radio – whether on traditional or new platforms. What we do know, is that all forms are still being used in great capacities – more than ever before in fact – and as we  say, a mix of the New and Traditional seems to be the best bet to reach the widest audience!



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