Americans spend more time watching TV on the go, on the web and on the box

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The Independent Culture

The average American is spending more time watching TV than ever before in history.

Over the last decade TV content delivery methods have expanded out of "the box" to include mobile video, timeshifted TV, internet video and in-home streaming to mobile devices.  

While one might expect consumers to simply swap time in front of the traditional TV for time spent watching TV on the internet or mobile, consumers are in fact supplementing their TV habits with additional hours consuming TV on the web and mobile device.

Market research Nielsen found that traditional TV viewership remains the dominant source of video content consumption across the board.

Overall traditional TV viewership has increased by 22 minutes per month per person over the last year, said Nielsen.

Mobile TV has seen strong gains in the past year. Viewership increased by 41 percent since 2010 and by more than 100 percent since 2009. Despite the strong gains, mobile video still only accounts for a few hours of viewing per month.

Younger Americans (especially those aged between 18 and 34) are consuming more video content on the web.

A very small percentage of TV watchers, lead by the younger generation, are switching off the traditional TV in favor of web-based streaming, said Nielsen.  

"Until the fall of 2010, Nielsen data consistently indicated that the heaviest media consumers are so across all platforms. A subset of consumers from television and Internet homes has now emerged that defies that notion, with the lightest traditional television users streaming significantly more Internet video, and the heaviest streamers under-indexing for traditional TV viewership."

Despite the shift towards new forms of TV consumption, 91 percent of Americans still paid for a TV subscription of some form in Q1 2011.

Results of a web poll conducted by Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney and published on All Things Digital on June 16 revealed that most internet users who paid to watch TV on the web were using video streaming service Netflix.

The poll found that YouTube was the most popular online streaming service, followed by Facebook, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and Amazon.