Research: US viewers embrace PVRs

Among the three major devices connected to TVs (video game consoles, PVRs and DVD players), PVRs account for the greatest percentage of Americans’ watching time, according to Nielsen Research.

Contrary to popular belief, PVR viewing does not affect the amount of time Americans watch television. Since 2006 the percentage of time they watch live TV in the home has fallen from 89% to 85%. However, the amount of time each person spends viewing TV content (live or time-shifted) actually increased by 19 minutes year-over-year in the first four weeks of the 2011 season. People are watching more, but more frequently on their own schedules.

The percentage of PVR usage has grown fivefold from a mere 1.6% in 2006 to almost 8% in 2011, and PVRs are adding time to the TV day by allowing us to watch shows airing at the same time. Leading the trend in PVR usage are females 18-54, who allot almost 10% of their TV viewing time to a PVR.

While usage of DVD players has decreased across every demographic since 2007, video game consoles have seen a rise. Since 2006, video game console usage has increased almost 40% from 2.7% to 3.9% of total TV time. The trend in console usage is driven by teens, who spend almost 11% of their total TV time engaged with a video game console.

The figures come from a blog on the Nielsen website, written by Pat McDonough (SVP), with additional research and analysis from Chad Dreas (VP) and Zach Kennedy.

Today, 98% of US homes own a TV and most have some kind of device hooked up to their television; 85% of TV content is viewed live and PVR usage accounts for 8% of TV time.