Viewers Using Apps More, TV Less

By Steve Safran 

Live TV viewership continues to decline, as people spend more time on apps and computers. That’s according to a new Nielsen study of people’s entertainment consumption habits, which it conducts every quarter. The results for the second quarter of this year are in, and they show a consistent shift: People are watching live TV less and are using digital platforms more.

Live TV still gets the biggest share of leisure time. The study of adults 18 and over found people watched an average of four hours and nine minutes of live TV a day, with another 30 minutes of DVR-shifted TV. But that marks a drop of two minutes from the same period a year ago and 10 minutes two years ago. (If that doesn’t seem like much, ask the person trying to sell advertising against that lost viewership.)

Meantime, the growth of time spent on apps is impressive. Last year, people were using smartphone apps for one hour and nine minutes a day. This year it’s an hour and 43 minutes. Tablet apps are seeing more use too—going from 20 minutes a day last year to 32 minutes a day this year.


Radio is still holding its own. People listen to a little under two hours of radio a day, and that number doesn’t change much. For all the talk of the podcasting explosion, live radio is showing a consistent audience.

Here’s the chart from Nielsen: