Viewing Trends From Coast to Coast

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    Have I told you how much I love being part of the cutting edge research of the latest and greatest in technology and how consumer trends and behaviors impact that technology; or how much I especially love sharing that knowledge with you? It is empowering to know that our tech savvy world we live in continues to evolve at rapid speeds, largely because of our preferences as consumers.

    It’s interesting, too, that our tastes and trends vary, not only by our rich diversity of race, gender and age, but by where we live in the country. Nielsen recently released its first ever Local Watch Report, which explores the media consumption trends of U.S. consumers, depending on where they live. Y’all know I’m always saying we are spoiled rotten because we can now entertain ourselves with whatever we want to watch – whenever, wherever and however we want to watch it. According to the latest Nielsen insights, the cross-platform, or multiple viewing options we have gets even more specific by region.

    Let’s begin with traditional TV, which is still the way most of us watch our favorite programming. Viewership on this medium is actually up in several markets over the last year. As a group, Blacks log more TV viewing hours, about six and a half hours a day, (including both live TV and DVR playback) than any other demographic. But, what’s also interesting, is the viewing time, detailed what area you live in these great United States. The leading cities in live TV consumption in daily hours and minutes are: Pittsburgh (five hours, 28 minutes, up 21 minutes from 2012); St. Louis (five hours, 23 minutes, up 15 minutes from 2012); Baltimore (five hours, 19 minutes, up eight minutes from 2012); Philadelphia (five hours, 18 minutes, and that’s down 11 minutes from 2012) and Detroit (five hours, 15 minutes, up six minutes from 2012).

    Consumers are watching the least amount of TV in San Francisco (two hours, 57 minutes, down eight minutes from 2012); followed by Los Angeles (three hours, 39 minutes, down 15 minutes from 2012); Denver (three hours, 45 minutes, down 11 minutes from 2012); Seattle (three hours 50 minutes, down 24 minutes from 2012) and Minneapolis (four hours, also down 24 minutes from 2012). When we talk traditional TV, we also have to keep in mind the other times-shifted choices. In addition to live TV, DVR playback, VOD (video on demand) and viewing over-the-top content (video delivered via the Internet) are also measured.

    Let’s get back to that over-the-top content viewing for a minute. Smart TV (also known as connected or hybrid TV, a television set that integrates the use of the Internet or is connected to a set-top box (signal receiver), Blu-Ray player or game console) ownership is experiencing some growth in popularity. The largest penetration of these Smart TVs with their over-the-top video streaming capabilities is in San Francisco, where there is eight percent ownership. On the other hand, Smart TV ownership is lowest in Charlotte with 2.9 percent.

    As for other options to view content portable is also the way to. For example, we love our smartphones, because 69 percent of African-Americans own them. It appears that we are taking a little longer, though, to warm up to tablets – about 11 percent of us overall own these gadgets. And, just as we watch the most TV, we use our mobile devices for watching video at a 30 percent higher rate than the rest of the population. The percentages of our device ownership tend to jump, however, when we check out the numbers market by market. These are the top African-American Markets for smartphone penetration: Chicago (75 percent), Washington, D.C. (73 percent), Atlanta (72 percent), New York (72 percent) and Dallas (72 percent). Here are our top areas for tablet ownership: Tampa (28 percent), Atlanta (27 percent), Boston (26 percent), New York (26 percent) and Washington, D.C. (26 percent).

    What does all of this mean to any of us? It means that marketers and manufacturers have a myriad of opportunities to understand, appreciate and reach you as unique and diverse consumers in locations (as equally diverse) each with their own personalities. Best of all, you get to choose. So, you drive the market.

    Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to http://www.nielsenwire.com.

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