With all the recent emphasis on web and mobile TV, advertisers and service providers may not be taking full advantage of reaching viewers through gaming console platforms – especially male viewers.

Earlier today, Nielsen announced the results of a recent study that indicates men and women spend roughly the same amount of time watching TV when you account for the use of gaming consoles. Previous studies have shown that women watch more TV than men, but did not include gaming console usage in their definition of TV time.

According to Nielsen, in March 2012 women aged 18-34 watched an average of 4 hours 11 minutes of TV per day, while men watched only 3 hours 34 minutes – 15% less time spent than women. But when Nielsen looked at the use of 7th generation game consoles (Wii, Xbox360, PS3) this gap was all but eliminated. According to Nielsen, men aged 18-34 spent an average of 48 minutes using game consoles, as compared to only 22 minutes for women.

This study is interesting for a number of reasons. For one thing, it shows that men and women spend roughly the same amount of time in front of the TV (4 1/2 hours) but are engaged in a different mix of activities. Previous studies did not explore this nuance. For example, in 2011 Nielsen reported that female viewers (2 and up) watch more than 166 hours of TV per month on average, while males watch less than 140 hours – a gap of at least 16%.

Nielsen did not indicate what activities the gaming consoles were being used for. But regardless of whether they are watching on-demand TV, surfing the web or playing a game, men are spending almost 20% of their TV time on a game console. According to Wikipedia, more than 230 million 7th generation game consoles have been sold worldwide. Perhaps it is time to for advertisers and service providers to pay more attention to gaming console platforms, especially if they want to reach male viewers in the coveted 18-34 age range.