Games Steal TV Viewing Figures

Games Steal TV Viewing Figures

It would seem that TV and the gaming industry are about to go to war over the viewing habits of the male 18-34 population. The tension started when, last fall, Nielsen Media reported a 7.7 per cent decline in prime-time viewing by men belonging to that age group.
TV executives immediately began their search for the culprit responsible for the theft of their audience. It couldn't, obviously, have to do with the quality of programmes available, there had to be a more cunning enemy.

A report issued last week claims it may be able to shed some light into the missing viewers. According to that survey, almost half of gamers asked reported that they watched less television last year or pan to cut down their viewing this year. The Ziff Davis Digital Gaming in America survey reported that 26 per cent of gamers had already cut their TV watching over the last year with a further 20 per cent expecting to do the same this year. The Ziff study was conducted between May and June by the Strategy Group and was a random poll of 1,000 people nationwide.

The study also produced surprising results regarding the extent of the penetration of gaming and its impact on the lifestyle. According to the survey then, gamers are not content to just play games at home but also do so while on the move. Half of those asked, said they play games on their cell phones, for an average of 4.4 hours a week. The same people also spent an average of USD 19 in the last 60 days on phone games.

It is, of course, not so easy to confirm that the missing 7.7 per cent is all gamers. There is a well documented percentage of male 18-34 users who prefer to rent or buy DVDs and watch those, while network executives claim that Nielsen's sampling was flawed while the company itself has suggested that changes in the way data is collected may explain half of the 7.7 figure.

The turmoil caused by the drop in viewing figures is understandable since a lot of the executives pointing their finger at Nielsen, may lose their jobs if the trend continues.

Nielsen has recently produced figures that claim that in the first 8 weeks of the summer season, the drop in ratings was only 3 per cent. A drop of 3 per cent however, could hardly be considered a triumph for the poor, kind-hearted network executives.