Americans still spend more than 33 hours a week watching television. While nine in ten households in the United States pay for a television subscription, over 5 million homes subscribe to broadband and receive only free broadcast television. A report from Nielsen says that this group tends to watch half as much television and twice as much online video as the general population. Data from comScore show that Americans are watching more online video than ever, with over a hundred million viewers a day in the United States. However, online video viewing still tends to be measured in minutes, rather than hours a day.

The number of homes subscribing to cable television in America has decreased by 4.1% over the past year, while telco television services have seen increases of 21.1% and satellite television subscriptions are up 2.1%.

There are now 5.1 million homes in the United States that subscribe to broadband and receive only free broadcast television. That is an increase of 22.8% between Q3 2010 and Q3 2011. However, that is not necessarily an indication of cord cutting. On the contrary, it could be a case of broadcast only homes adding broadband, Nielsen suggests.

Interestingly, viewers in these 4.5% of homes watch less than half as much television as the general population but more than twice as much online video. Even then, they watch broadcast television for 122 minutes a day, compared to 11 minutes of online video, suggesting that streaming is far from a substitute for television or other long-form video formats.

Across the whole population of the United States, those aged 25-34 watch 53 minutes a week of online video, more than double that of teenagers, while seniors over 65 watch the least, but still an average of 13 minutes a week.

Among those that regularly watch online video, the 18-24 age group watches the most, at 7 hours and 33 minutes a month, while teenagers watch on average 4 hours and 25 minutes a month.

A report from comScore shows that Americans viewed more online video that ever in 2011. More than a hundred million Americans watched online video on an average day, representing a 43% increase over the year.

The average daily number of unique viewers to online video in the United States rose from 73.7 million in December 2010 to 105.1 million in December 2011. The number of videos viewed per month rose from 30.1 million to 43.5 million. The number of videos per viewer rose from 175 to 239 a month, which is around eight a day. Much of this is short-form video. The average viewing length rose from 5 minutes to 5.8 minutes.

Just over half of that viewing was to YouTube, accounting for 21.9 billion views. Vevo ranked a distant second with 801 million views, followed by Hulu with 777 million and Netflix at 431 million views.

The music video venture Vevo was also the top channel on YouTube, with 53 million unique users spending on average over an hour in December, each watching an average of 14 videos. Warner Music had 31 million viewers, watching for just under half an hour over the month. Machinima, featuring user created gaming videos, reached 22 million viewers, watching on average over an hour each over the month.

The number of online video advertisements rose 20% to 7.1 billion, or 14% of online videos.

Clearly online video viewing is rising rapidly, but is still far from a substitute for traditional television channels. There is measurable erosion of cable television subscriptions, some of which may be attributable to the weak economy. This massive market is ripe for disruption, but the reality is that most customers will not cut the cord, if only because more than ever they will be dependent on broadband.

The Cross-platform Report is published by Nielsen. US Digital Future in Focus 2012 is published by comScore.