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Live TV Viewing Is Down, Streaming Is Up, Says Nielsen Report

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A Nielsen report on TV viewing shows the evolution of home entertainment in the digital age, although the results are far from complete.

In the third quarter of 2014, live TV viewing was down 4.4 percent compared to the same period the year before, notes Nielsen's Total Audience Report (previously called the Cross-Platform Report). Americans currently average 141 hours of live television per month; in 2013 they averaged 147 hours.

Streaming video viewing, however, is on the rise. Americans watch almost 11 hours of streamed video per month, Nielsen reports, compared to 7 hours the year before.

Where the report falls apart is in streaming measurement. It doesn't measure set-top box streaming, so there's no way to know the true impact Netflix and other streaming services are having on viewing. The report also doesn't look at viewing through mobile devices or game consoles. Both Nielsen and ComScore have yet to meet the challenge of multi-platform measurement.

The report looks at cord-cutting, as well, and finds that 2.57 million U.S. households—about 3 percent—get their video only through a broadband internet connection. Nielsen didn't measure that stat in 2013, but it will be interesting to see if it rises or plateaus in coming years.

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