Americans Using TV and Internet Together 35% More Than A Year Ago

Yes, we can watch TV and use the internet at the same time.  This news will chagrine my wife who used to challenge my ability to read the newspaper while watching TV. For the rest of us, this is a largely untapped opportunity.

The evidence: The Nielsen Company’s latest Three Screen Report.

Between the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2009, “simultaneous use of the Internet while watching TV reached three and a half hours a month, up 35% from the previous quarter. Nearly 60% of TV viewers now use the Internet once a month while also watching TV”, according to Nielsen.

“The rise in simultaneous use of the web and TV gives the viewer a unique on-screen and off-screen relationship with TV programming,” said Nielsen Company media product leader Matt O’Grady. “The initial fear was that Internet and mobile video and entertainment would slowly cannibalize traditional TV viewing, but the steady trend of increased TV viewership alongside expanded simultaneous usage argues something quite different.”

Persons 2+ Watching TV and Using the Internet Simultaneously At Least Once Per Month At Home
  Dec 2009 June 2009 Dec 2008 % Diff Yr to Yr
% of Persons Using TV/Internet Simultaneously 59.0% 56.9% 57.5% 2.7%
Estimated Number of Persons Using TV/Internet Simultaneously (000) 134,056 128,047 128,167 4.6%
Time Spent Simultaneously Using TV/Internet Per Person in Hours:Minutes 3:30 2:39 2:36 34.5%
Average % of TV time Panelists spent also using the Internet 3.1% 2.7% 2.4% 29.7%
Average % of Internet time Panelists spent also using TV 34.0% 27.9% 29.9% 13.9%
Source: The Nielsen Company

So, Mrs. Potter, and anyone else can read the entire report here.

What’s In the Health Care Bill? – The story you need to be all over next week.

Eds. note: This is another in our series of Outside the Newsbox ideas.

The Washington Post today published a handy guide to what’s in the Senate health care bill and changes that are in the House reconciliation bill.  It’s highly summarized and covers only eight major topics.  It’s useful, however, given that the bill posted on the internet is unintelligible.

Your website and your primary media (tv, radio, or print) had better be all over this story starting Sunday.

As a news consumer I will be looking for a clear, easy-to-understand guide to the new healthcare landscape.  Focus on exactly what is in the plan, what proponents say it will do to improve healthcare, and what are the pitfalls to look out for as a health care consumer.   Hopefully, your coverage will be politics-light and heavy on real life scenarios.

Don’t forget to ask your customers what they want to learn more about. Again, avoid the political rhetoric and focus on the impact of the new laws.

Small Michigan Station is “priced to sell” on Ebay

New York Times reports: Small Michigan Station is “priced to sell” on Ebay.

You don’t need pockets as deep as Comcast’s to get into the TV business. Or even be a millionaire, apparently.

A UHF station in western Michigan – WMKG-LP, Channel 38 – that airs a mix of live talk shows and outdoor sports programming, is “priced to sell” at $700,000, according to its listing on eBay. And the owner, Bud Kelley, says he’ll go even lower.

The Multi-platform Nation

You’ve got to wonder who the 8% of Americans are who don’t use multiple news platforms on a typical day.  92% of us are “multi-platformers”  according to Pew Internet & American Life’s latest survey, “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer.”

Eds. Note – A warning: This is not a quick read.  But it is an important one. 

The days of loyalty to a particular news organization on a particular piece of technology in a particular form are gone. The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day, including national TV, local TV, the internet, local newspapers, radio, and national newspapers.

Some 46% of Americans say they get news from four to six media platforms on a typical day. Just 7% get their news from a single media platform on a typical day. The internet is at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing. Six in ten Americans (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day, and the internet is now the third most popular news platform, behind local television news and national television news.

The process Americans use to get news is based on foraging and opportunism. They seem to access news when the spirit moves them or they have a chance to check up on headlines. At the same time, gathering the news is not entirely an open-ended exploration for consumers, even online where there are limitless possibilities for exploring news. While online, most people say they use between two and five online news sources and 65% say they do not have a single favorite website for news. Some 21% say they routinely rely on just one site for their news and information.  From: Pew Internet & American Life’s latest survey, “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer.”