Nielsen Releases Total Audience Report: TV Still Reigns, Digital Gaining Ground

Although digital forms of media continue to take up more leisure time, live television remains the king of daily media consumption, according to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report Q1 2015. In total, watching live television takes up four hours and 55 minutes of the average American’s daily schedule, only down 16 minutes from Nielsen’s 2013 report. Radio takes up the second most time of an average American’s day – two hours and 42 minutes – followed by smartphone use, which increased by 50 percent since 2013 to snag one and half hours. “Using the Internet on a computer” came in fourth.


The report also mentioned a few surprising uses categorized by age group. Despite the ongoing conversation on millennials and their digital devices, both smartphones and tablets reached a higher percentage of “Gen-Xers”. The primary difference between the 18-35 and the 35-49 demographics is in television watching. Only three-fourths of millennials watch television while its use is embraced almost ubiquitously by the older generations.


The oldest demographic category – those over 50 – unsurprisingly claim less use of mobile devices than the younger generations. Radio, however, is the biggest winner of weekly reach. 93 percent of everyone surveyed claimed they listened to radio sometime during the week while only 87 percent could claim the same with television.


Media consumption also differed slightly between different ethnicities. Out of races identified (“Black”, “Hispanic” and “Asian American”), black audiences watched the most television. Hispanic audiences listened to more radio and spent more time using their smartphones, and Asian American audiences watched the least television but watched the most video on tablets.


The debate rages on. Is web video on par with television? As media consumption continues to change, those in entertainment careers need to be aware of the how the media of choice is evolving. Despite radio falling from its once lofty reign as the premier source of entertainment before television hit the scene, the medium still is listened to by almost all Americans, and those with their first radio job will still have an audience for years to come.


 Television is still THE major source of entertainment although social and digital media are starting to gain momentum. Broadcast journalism jobs and other TV jobs won’t be disappearing any time soon. Yet, if digital continues to stake its claim on video, those looking long-term at their entertainment career might want to consider the digital aspects of television watching – especially as younger generations continue to embrace mobile devices and ignore the talking box.


Digital media may not seem like its ready to overthrow television, but its steady growth and continued use has solidified it as more than a fad. In the next 20 years, digital will most likely grow larger and larger, and many jobs in the entertainment industry will be created in the digital realm.


Job seekers will want to consider today as well as tomorrow when looking for entertainment jobs. Positions that create better avenues for digital experience might want to be considered more than any that deal with purely non-digital components of media.


To see how the changing media is affecting current entertainment business jobs, check out our job postings at

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