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The Generation Gap in TV Consumption

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Felix Richter

According to Nielsen’s latest Total Audience Report, television is still the most used electronic medium for U.S. adults. On average, Americans aged 18 and older spend more than four hours a day watching TV, still beating the three hours and 45 minutes they interact with their smartphone on an average day by roughly half an hour.

While these findings certainly show that television is still relevant and shouldn’t be written off prematurely, a closer look reveals a trend that could spell doom for TV networks in the long run. According to Nielsen’s findings there is a large generation gap in TV consumption. While those aged 50 and older spend close to six (ages 50-64) and more than seven hours (ages 65+) a day in front of the tube, young adults watch significantly less TV.

While some of this difference might be explained by the fact that many people over the age of 65 are retired and thus have more time to watch TV, the fact that younger people are more likely to use streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video instead of watching “traditional” TV likely plays an even larger role in this.

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