I Like To Watch… And So Do You

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How is your screen time spent? Online? TV? on your iPhone? The common thought – especially with those engaged in the new media space – is that more and more people are spending less and less time with their TVs.

Wrong… again.

Back in November there was a Blog post titled, TV Viewing Is Down As Internet Usage Continues To Grow? Not Exactly, where I briefly Blogged about a Nielsen study on television (the average American was watching 8 hours and 18 minutes per day). Would you place your money that this usage has gone up or down?

"The average American spends an average of 8.7 hours each day consuming video media, and younger Baby Boomers (ages 45-54) watch the largest amount, 9.5."

That was the result of a research report conducted on behalf of the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence (CRE) by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design (CMD) and Sequent Partners, and reported today in MarketingVox (TV Dominates Americans’ 8.7 Hours of Daily Video Time). Once again, people are watching more television than ever before.

And now, for the big question: how is the online channel doing?

"This finding, according to researchers,  dispels anecdotal notions that Americans – especially those in younger age groups – are flocking in droves to free TV on the internet.  In  reality, the study found that computer video tends to be small, with an average time of two minutes (slightly more than 0.5%) a day and that the amount of exposure time to ads remains significant."

This same report goes on to say that even thought TV video is ranked at #1, computer use has overtaken radio as the #2 media activity (print rounds it out at #4).

The news item has much more information and statistics that are well worth checking out. It’s interesting to see the media landscape shift, and it’s equally interesting to see that within those eight hours of viewing the average consumer is still exposed to over 72 minutes of advertising and promotions.

Do we drink too much of our own Kool-Aid? All of us would have guessed that people were leaving TV for online video and their iPhones in droves. Is this transition going to take longer than we thought, or is it going to be some kind of hybrid usage/model that none of us can even see yet?


  1. Is this study taking into account how many people are actually sitting in front of their TV’s WITH their lap tops and multitasking?
    Example… watching American Idol and seeing the Tweet Cloud Paula, Simon, Adam, Dope, Randy…

  2. I believe we watch too much TV. But if anyone knows me I have been saying that for years. This is an old tune I sing. I don’t have a TV. Got rid of it years ago. TV is an open sewer in our living rooms. And some of you are dippin your kids in it daily.
    Not sure the research numbers are right but I know – just from knowing people and knowing their habits – it is way too much.
    Online with the proliferation of vids is bad enough now – it will sadly get way way worse. As more folks get online the vids are what they will be pulled to. It is a modality they understand. God knows reading is a drag!
    And I have believed for some time that if we ever wanted to dumb down our culture – TV will do it. And it has. It has.

  3. Agreed & Disagreed. I don’t think TV is done yet. We can agree that TV is here to stay just as long as we thought that the Fax machine was going to be replaced by Scanners and EDI. In any case how long did it take? Simply, we still use Fax Machines for a everything. What does my comment have to do with anything? Simply, the TV is attractive. I don’t have a T1 in my basement or an OC-24 loading internet movies, shows etc. Additionally what is missing is the incapacity to actually have a “central” web or a “social-tv-guide” which would make all the channels i can possibly watch available to me online. There would have to be fast loading times, and it would have to be live – not yesterdays news and on webcam quality. I want quality streaming like my TV, and until I get that, the TV is here to stay. (I’m also part of the demographic that is a GEN-Y).

  4. Check it out for yourself, but it seemed like a fairly robust research program. Again, from the news item:
    “‘What differentiates this study from all other attempts to measure video exposure at the consumer level is its scale, the range of media covered and the fact that it is focused on consumers first and the media second,’ said Mike Bloxham, director of insight and research for Ball State’s CMD. ‘It’s not a study about TV or the Web or any other medium – it’s about how, where, how often and for how long consumers are exposed to all media.’
    ‘Among the things we learned from those experiences is that people generally cannot report accurately how much time they spend with media,’ added Bloxham. ‘Some media tend to be over-reported whereas others tend to be under-reported – sometimes to an alarming extent. Clearly, that kind of variance puts in question one’s ability to draw meaningful conclusions, and it convinced us that the observational method is the only real way to achieve accurate and reliable results.’
    The Video Consumer Mapping (VCM) involved directly observing participants throughout the day. Using handheld smart keyboards equipped with a custom media collector program developed by Ball State, the researchers recorded – in 10-second increments – consumer exposure to visual content presented on TV, computer, mobile and other screens.”

  5. While I’m not entirely surprised that TV continues to be so popular, I’m completely shocked that the average American spends over 8 hours watching it. That just doesn’t compute. How in the world does someone spend over a third of their living time, and well over half of their waking life, watching TV? I thought I watched alot, and it’s more like 2 hours on a really lazy day.

  6. People leave their TVs on. Cooking dinner, the TV is on in the background. Its so easy to flip on a cable news station and just sorta half listen. My wife and I chat while half-watching sitcoms, or the food network. Much as I hate reality shows like Idol, they do get people talking. It’s not passive viewing.
    The variety and quality of content is like nothing we’ve had before either. I always wonder if the “TV is poison” crowd extends that to the stage – plays, musicals, concerts. Are those poison too? Or is there something about the TV medium that automatically turns entertainment into poison?

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