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Nielsen Releases Video-Game Data

3/05/2007 3:19 AM Eastern

The number of video-game consoles in U.S. television households expanded by 18.5% since the fourth quarter of 2004, according to a report released Monday by Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services, a service of Nielsen Co.

In the fourth quarter of last year, there were 45.7 million homes with video-game consoles, representing 41.1% of all TV households, compared to 39.1% (43 million) in 2005, and 35.2% (38.6 million) the previous year.

The increase in both the number and the percentage of U.S. TV households with video-game consoles is significant given that the number of total television households has risen 1.6% during the same period.

The report, The State of the Console, incorporates extensive data on video-game-console usage from Nielsen’s National People Meter sample of television households, as well as its quarterly Home Technology Report.

The launch of Nielsen’s GamePlay Metrics later this year will, for the first time, deliver metered video-game usage and demographic data by game title, genre and platform. It will provide advertisers, agencies, hardware manufacturers and game developers with independent, high-quality, quantitative information for negotiating the buying and selling of in-game and around-game advertising.

Among the key findings of the report:

• The number of connected console households (those subscribing to a service that links their consoles to the Internet) has grown to more than 4.4 million, even before accounting for the connectivity of Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii platforms.

• Two-thirds of all men in television households aged 18-34 have access to a video-game console in their homes.

• During the fourth quarter of 2006, gamers in the top quintile (the top 20% of users based on average use over the quarter) accounted for 74.4% of total console usage.

• From Sept. 18-Dec. 31, 2006, 93.8 million persons used a video-game console at least once for a minute or more. Moreover, in any given minute of the day, about 1.6 million people in the United States are using a video-game console.

• According to Nielsen, by the close of last year, about 148.4 million persons had access to at least one video-game console system in their home. That represented more than one-half (52.4%) of the total U.S. television population. But the levels of penetration were particularly strong among key demographic groups. While more than two-thirds (67.7%) of all men 18-34 had access to a console in their homes, the percentage was dramatically higher (80%) for men 12-17 years of age.

• The nation’s video gamers were active at the end of last year, as well, with Nielsen recording 93.8 million persons (33% of the population) using an in-home video-game console at least once for a minute or more. This was especially true for the top 20% of gamers, who averaged 5 hours and 45 minutes of usage per usage day.

September