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TV Continues to Top Time with Media

Among all age groups, TV beats out smartphones, PCs

US consumers spend an average of 35 hours per week watching live and timeshifted television, Q1 2016 research revealed. Older consumers spend more time viewing content on this platform than their younger counterparts.

Weekly Time Spent with Select Media/Devices Among US Consumers, by Age, Q1 2016 (hrs:mins)

Live and DVR/timeshifted TV includes live viewing and any playback within the measurement period. Research from Nielsen found that US consumers ages 65 and older spend an average of 51.5 hours a week watching live TV and timeshifted TV. In contrast, consumers ages 18 to 24 spend an average of a bit more than 16 hours—less than a third as much time.

Older consumers also spend a significant amount of time with AM/RM radio, however, when it comes to other media and devices, like smartphone apps or game consoles, they don’t spend as much time on them as younger consumers do. For example, consumers ages 65 and older spend 2 hours, 41 minutes with apps or the web via their smartphone. Consumers ages 18 to 24 spend 15 hours, 11 minutes—more than five times as much. Additionally, consumers ages 25 to 34 spend 13 hours, 47 minutes and 35- to 49-year-olds spend 14 hours, 34 minutes.

Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by US Adults, 2012-2018 (hrs:mins)

Younger consumers also spend more time per week watching video on their desktop or laptop, as well as playing games via their console. In fact, 18- to 24-year-olds spend an average of 4 hours with their game console. Consumers ages 65 and older spend an average of 7 minutes.

According to eMarketer, growth in time spent with media is slowing. And traditional TV, despite a downward trajectory, remains the single largest part of US adults’ media day. TV time far exceeds time spent on any one component of the overall “digital” category. While digital video is on the upswing, the sum of mobile viewing and desktop/laptop viewing will be less than one-fourth the amount of time spent on nondigital TV this year, eMarketer predicts.

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