How Much Do We Love TV?



You still love television, but you use your tablet more than ever. And the popularity of services like Netflix or Amazon Prime is growing every day.

Those are some of the findings of a study released in Juni 2016. by Nielsen that measured how Americans are consuming media these days (increasingly on devices they hold in hands), and how much live TV are they still watch (an average of more than five hours a day).

The study comes just a few weeks after Netflix revealed some data about how quickly will people finish a season of a TV show — about five days, give or take, spending two hours a day watching.

How much are they watching, and how are they watching it? Here is what Nielsen found:

So Much TV

On average, American adults are watching five hours and four minutes of television per day. The bulk of that — about four and a half hours of it — is live television, which is television watched when originally broadcast. Thirty minutes more comes via DVR.

So even though ratings are falling and the broadcast networks don’t quite have the glamour they used to, TV is alive and well, right?

Well. That five-hour figure is 19 fewer minutes, on average, than Americans were watching two years ago — and three fewer than they watched per day last year. Thet are watching less TV live, but the rate of decline slowed between last year and this year.

The Young Flee Live TV

Let’s break this into groups. People over the age of 50 watch the most TV, somewhere in the range of 50 hours a week, according to Nielsen. In fact, people over the age of 50 are watching more TV per week this year than last.

But that’s where that trend ends. People 24 and under are watching, roughly, two fewer hours of live TV and DVR programming per week than last year. And 25- to 34-year-olds (roughly speaking, millennials)? They’re watching an hour less per week, down from 27 and a half hours to 26 and a half hours. People between 35 and 49 mostly held steady and are watching about 22 minutes less television per week: 36 and a half hours from nearly 37 hours a week.

Streaming Services Roar

About 50 percent of Americans now have subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu in their homes, Nielsen said. That is up from 42 percent last year. And that figure of 50 percent for the paid services equals for the first time the proportion of homes with DVR players. The DVR numbers have held steady for the past year.

Tablets and Phones Rule

Tablets are now in 58 percent of American homes, a jump of 17 percent from last year (for comparison, HD TVs are in 94 percent of American homes, an increase of about 4 percent). And time spent consuming media on tablets has increased 63 percent — to 31 minutes from 19 minutes a day (in 2014, the average was 12 minutes a day).

Likewise, people are spending one hour and 39 minutes a day consuming media on their phones this year, versus an hour and two minutes last year — a 60 percent jump.

Wired All The Time

The amount of time you spend consuming media — watching TV, surfing the web on a computer, using an app on your phone, listening to the radio and so forth — continues to go up. Nielsen said that in 2014, Americans spent about nine and a half hours consuming content this way. This year? The average is 10 hours and 39 minutes.

Still plenty of time to sleep, if not read a book.