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Connecting With the Cosmos: The Total Audience Media Universe

2 minute read | March 2015

The current state of the media universe is much like that of the cosmos. The rise in technology and TV-connected devices has given consumers—and thus programmers, marketers, agencies and advertisers—a vehicle for boundless choice.

This dynamic ecosystem is also continually changing.

And to keep pace, Nielsen is reaching new frontiers by working to total up audiences across devices and burgeoning viewing platforms.

Consider this: Each month, U.S. consumers are engaging with media across a spectrum of devices. In Q4 2014, traditional TV reached an average of 285 million viewers each month with more than 181 million of these consumers watching time-shifted TV. In terms of mobile and computer users, 122 million viewers watched video on a smartphone, 146 million watched video on the Internet and 164 million people used an app/web on a smartphone. Radio is also a vibrant means of engaging with content, reaching 258 million listeners per month.

While the average American adult spent nearly a week (149 hours 14 minutes) on average watching traditional television each month in fourth-quarter 2014, other ways to connect with content were desirable as well. In that same quarter, U.S. adults spent well over 15 hours each month watching time-shifted content, close to 30 hours using the Internet on a computer, and over 43 hours using any app/web on a smartphone! In addition, consumer’s monthly time spent listening to radio was also a resounding 58 hours and 36 minutes.

Consumers are also spending a lot of time on social media: 133 million are connecting via computer, 142 million are using social media on an app or smartphone, and 124 million are using social media on the web on a smartphone.


Data used in this report is inclusive of multicultural audiences. Hispanic consumer audiences are composed of both English and Spanish speaking representative populations.

Source: Traditional TV, Time-shifted TV, DVD, Game Consoles, Multimedia Devices Sept. 29, 2014-Dec. 28, 2014 via Nielsen NPOWER/NPM Panel, Online Oct. 1, 2014-Dec. 31, 2014 via Nielsen Netview and Nielsen VideoCensus, Mobile Oct. 1, 2014-Dec. 31, 2014 via Nielsen Electronic Measurement Radio Sept. 12, 2013-Sept. 10, 2014 via RADAR 123.

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