Nielsen: DVDs Pass VCRs in U.S. Households

David Kiley

Gun Watching Tv Small

It’s official. DVD Player penetration in U.S. households has passed that of VCRs. Nielsen Media Research said DVDs are now found in 81.2% of households, versus 79.2% for VCRs.

But that’s besides the point. I had lunch with an executive yesterday who says 40% of TV watching is non-real-time now—video, DVDs and time-shifted TV shows from Digital Video Recorders. That’s an awful lot of eyeballs opting out of advertising. Last Sunday night, for example, I watched the New York Giants get embarrassed by the Eagles. The game was on at 4:15. I did not watch until 8PM, carefully avoiding results of the game until I could see for myself. The game would have taken me 3 hours-plus to watch live. I watched and enjoyed it in one hour and 12 minutes after my young son had gone to bed. When you fast-forward by all the ads, halftime and even huddles, it is remarkable the sense you get about how much time would be utterly wasted by watching the game live. I was thinking---to watch the game live gives me the same feeling I get when my dsl connection is slow and wasting time. Grrrr.

Even at FFF speed, I could see my time being utterly wasted. Jewelry stores at which I won’t be shopping. Cadillacs for which I’m not in market. Promotions for TV shows I wouldn’t dream of watching. Dog food ( I don’t have a dog). This ad model is totally busted. Attention advertisers: All the instincts you have about ripping dollars out of live TV spending are correct.

There is so much unwatchable crap on TV right now that my own DVD consumption, via Netflix, has been going up to about a dozen DVDs per month. Obe of the best aspects of Netflix is discovering a series you want to watch, which makes for five or six DVDs and a blackout of prime-time live TV watching on many nights.

Some additional topline findings from Nielsen’s Home Tech study include:
Computers -- 73.4% of U.S. homes currently have a computer in the household.Homes with an income over $60K are 50% more likely to own a home computer than homes with an income below $60K.
Internet – 95.4% of consumers with Internet access go online at least once a week, and 37.3% of Internet users go online more than once a day. 78.2% of online users have made purchases over the Internet. 46.8% of online users (ages 12+) have used the Internet to download and play music from the Internet.
MP3 Players – 26.7% of U.S. homes own or rent an MP3 player. Households with the presence of children 12-17 years of age are nearly 2 ½ times more likely to own or rent an MP3 player than compared to the Total U.S. The percentage of homes owning an MP3 player has risen by 149.5% since 3rd Quarter 2003.
PDA – 16.4% of U.S. homes own a PDA, and since 3rd quarter 2003, PDA ownership has increased by 4.5%. Not surprisingly, higher income homes are more than four times as likely as lower income homes to own a PDA.