Americans Watching More TV on More TVs

For all the belly-aching television executives emit regarding slipping ratings, demographic fragmentation, and the ravages being inflicted on their industry by video games, portable devices, the Internet, music players, Little League, schoolwork, and (horrors!) digital video recorders…

…Americans just can’t seem to get enough television.

Recent figures from Nielsen Media Research say the “average” American home now has more televisions than residents—with 2.73 television sets compared to 2.55 people—and has is turned into television for more than 8 hours a day, with almost 2 hours happening during evening “prime time.” And, in a result sure to make television execs spend a little extra on factory-installed accessories on the new boat, viewership is actually up among technology-savvy teenagers, exactly the demographic television was fearing it would lose to all those newfangled gizmos.

According to Nielsen Media Research, “average” American home turned into 8 hours and 14 minutes of television per day during the 2005&nash;2006 television year, up three minutes from the previous year. Individual viewership also increased (on “average”) three minutes to4 hours and 35 minutes of TV time per day, a new record.

These figures represent the first calculated using a 10,000 “People Meter” household sample, accounting for some 25,000 people. And in digesting these figures, it’s important to note that an average of 8 hours and 14 minutes of TV viewing means that a significant number of those 10,000 households consumed more than 8 hours and 14 minutes of television a day. In all likelihood, some tuned into much more.

“These results demonstrate that television still holds its position as the most popular entertainment platform,” noted Patricia McDonough, Nielsen Media Research’s senior VP of Planning Policy & Analysis, in a release. “At this point, consumption of emerging forms of entertainment, including Internet television and video on personal devices seem not to be making an impact on traditional television viewing. This is especially true among teenage girls, who have shown significant increases in viewing during the past year.”

Nielsen found that teens aged 12 to 17 years watched 3 percent more “traditional” television during the full day than they had during the 2004-2005 television year, led mainly by teenaged girls who increased their daily television viewing by six percent, often during early morning and late night hours.

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