TVB CRO Stacey Schulman Says Nielsen Cross Platform Report Highlights Dangers Of Self-Reported Behaviors In Research Studies


— Metered Results Show Traditional TV Viewing Reached Over 155 Hours per Month
In Q4’13 versus 1.4 Hours of Video Viewing on Mobile Phones —

New York, March 6, 2014 – Stacey Lynn Schulman, Chief Research Officer of the TVB (, the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry today responded to Nielsen’s 4th Quarter 2013 Cross-Platform Report:

“Nielsen’s shift in reporting self-reported behavior to actual metered behavior is a wake-up call to marketers, brands and advertisers. It’s clear that consumers do not accurately assess the time they spend with media.”

Nielsen disclosed in the report that it instituted a change in methodology for measuring and reporting mobile video based on consumers’ actual behavior as monitored by device meters. Previously, Nielsen relied upon claimed behavior in consumer surveys for this important growing consumer segment and therefore restated 4th Quarter 2012 data for comparative purposes with the most recent quarter.

Schulman added, “The restated data, based on actual metered measurement, indicates that consumers overstated their time spent watching video on mobile phones by 538%. TVB has been tracking the report’s findings for several years to better understand the implications of the data beyond the quarter-to-quarter comparisons. The benefit of TVB’s historical tracking allowed the trade organization to compare the restated metered data to prior behavior claimed by consumers.”

Monthly Time Spent Watching Video on Mobile Phone

Quarter Claimed Behavior Actual (restated/metered)
4Q2012 5 hours 23 minutes 1 hour
4Q2013 NA 1 hour 23 minutes

“The differences are striking not only in comparison to TV, which based on metered data reached 155 hours and 32 minutes of Monthly Time Spent, but in the degree of overstatement that consumers report versus actual device monitoring. This disparity is an important reminder of the dangers inherent in trusting consumers’ claimed behavior and calls into question many recent studies that have proclaimed the demise of traditional media based on self-reported approximations of time spent with digital devices.

Examples of recent studies that are prone to consumer over-statement include:

Schulman concluded, “We are pleased that Nielsen adjusted its mobile measurement methodology. The 4th Quarter 2013 Cross-Platform Report re-affirmed television’s role as the dominant medium based on Monthly Time Spent measured across all other metered viewing platforms.”

TVB also highlighted the following findings from Nielsen’s 4th Quarter 2013 Cross-Platform Report:

  • Traditional TV is Growing. TV usage among all persons 2+ has increased from 154 hours and 8 minutes per month in Q4’10 to 155 hours and 32 minutes per month in Q4’13.
  • Traditional TV Viewing is Still Dominant. Despite a variety of entertainment alternatives in the home, Traditional TV remains the dominant favorite pastime among all persons 2+. Among its two closest platform competitors Traditional TV exceeded “Watching Timeshifted TV” by +960% and “Using the Internet on a Computer” by +461% in Q4’13.
  • TV is Growing with Younger Audiences. Users 18-24 were up year-to-year by +1.7% with “Traditional TV” and +15.8% with “Timeshifted TV,” while “Using the Internet on a Computer” was down 16.4% and “Watching Video on the Internet” was down 12.6%.

View the TVB Summary

About TVB

TVB is the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry. Its members include television broadcast groups, advertising sales reps, syndicators, international broadcasters, associate members and over 500 individual television stations. TVB actively promotes local media marketing solutions to the advertising community, and in so doing works to develop advertising dollars for the medium’s multiple platforms, including on-air, website and mobile. TVB provides a diverse variety of tools and resources, including, to support its members and to help advertisers make the best use of local ad dollars.

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