While it is a well established fact that America has the largest population of couch potatoes in the world, nobody would have imagined that they spend roughly 8 hours a day watching TV! This astonishing information was revealed through a survey undertaken by Nielsen Media Research company in 2010. The twist here is that, the survey speaks of American household and not individuals. Nonetheless, more surveys on similar topics were conducted and results were still not very brilliant. Let us find out the truth behind these findings.
How Much TV Does an Average American Watch a Day?
One more interesting fact about Americans and their love for television is that, in an American home, there are more TV sets than people! In the same survey report, Nielsen Media Research has revealed that there are 2.75 TV sets in every household, as opposed to 2.55 people per home. However, the research mostly takes into account the aggregated hours spent watching TV by a family and not a single individual. When this statistics was calculated, it was revealed that an American individual spends about 4 hours, 35 minutes a day watching TV. Thus, they spend about 29 hours per week watching TV. As evident, this time is slightly less than a full-time job! Every month, they spend roughly 142 hours watching TV, which is almost double the time spent by individuals of other nations.
The survey has shown a rise of about 5 hours per week, when compared to previous years data. The number of television sets has also increased since then. As every member of the family has his or her own television set, they can now watch their favorite programs without having to share the remote control. This has invariably contributed to increased amount of television viewing. Apart from that, there are many factors that have contributed to rise in television viewership.
What has Caused Rise in TV Viewership?
As mentioned above, more number of TV sets per household is a major contributing factor. Apart from that, there is also a steep rise in the number of niche channels. This means, every member of the house can have a dedicated channel, which caters to their individual needs. Thus, the family of four now watches four different channels at any given time. Earlier, families used to sit together and watch good TV shows aired for family audience. Now, mom may watch her favorite sitcom in the kitchen, while dad stretches on the living room couch watching football and kids are holed up in their bedrooms watching cartoon. This significantly increases the total time spent in watching TV by a family.
Another factor that might have contributed to more time being spent in front of the TV is economic meltdown. As more people lost their jobs, they had nothing else to do but switch on the idiot box. However, this situation is likely to change as people will eventually get back to their work. Besides, the survey does not take into account the time when TV is only being played in the background, while members are doing something else. The survey counts this time as active watching, which adds up to the total number of hours that television is watched.
All said and done, the time spent in front of the TV by an American is still more than what can be considered normal. At this rate, they spend half of their free time (8 hours sleep + 8 hours job) watching TV, which could otherwise be devoted to some constructive activity. Comparing the above data with the average life span of an American, it can be concluded that the average American spends about 9 years of his life watching TV!