Gaming consoles increase media viewership in men

New figures released by Nielsen show that video game consoles are ensuring that men spend close the same amount of time in front of screens as women.

Posted on Oct 15, 2012 by YuMe

Traditionally, women watch more video content than men, but new figures released by Nielsen show that video game consoles are ensuring that men spend close the same amount of time in front of screens as women.

The research looked at how seventh generation consoles in particular affect time spent in front of television screens. In March of this year, women between 18 and 34 watched more than four hours of television on an average day. In comparison, men between 18 and 34 spent a little more than three hours and 30 minutes viewing TV a day. However, when time spent playing video game consoles was factored in, the gender gap disappeared. During the same period, women spent about 22 minutes a day and men spent about 48 minutes a day on video games.

"Women still spent more time in front of the screen, but 7th generation game consoles bridged the gender gap by over two-thirds," Nielsen wrote in an October 5 blog post. "That’s screen time with value, giving advertisers increased opportunities to target consumers no matter how they’re using the consoles – whether it’s playing the latest first-person combat game, binging on an old sitcom, or streaming a movie."

Video game consoles and connected TV viewership
While this finding may seem like it would only benefit TV advertising, Engadget reported that the research could be big for video advertisers looking to break into the connected television landscape. The Nielsen study only looked at time spent using seventh generation video game consoles, making no mention on how men and women between 18 and 34 were using the consoles. Considering that many of these devices have capabilities beyond gaming such as internet connectivity, Nielsen said that advertisers should see new opportunities in its latest results.

According to an August report from YuMe and Frank N. Magid Associates, video gaming consoles are one of the most popular ways consumers currently access the internet from their television sets. The survey found that 77 percent of connected television viewership is through gaming devices, with 28 percent of internet-enabled TV consumers saying their console was the only way to watch online content on a television screen.

"Gaming is the most likely culprit [behind Nielsen's findings], but a raft of streaming video options could have some of those refined couch potatoes watching Hulu or Netflix instead of playing one more round of Gears of War," John Fingas wrote in an October 5 Engadget article. "If consoles have people of all genders spending more time together, we're in favor of it; given that men still spend over twice as much time on consoles as women, though, it's clear there's still a bridge to cross if we want more of a balance in the kinds of TV activity we enjoy."