Study: Americans Spend 8.5 Hours a Day Viewing Screens
From televisions, cellphones, GPS units and computers, Americans average about 8.5 hours of viewing, according to a Nielsen Co. sponsored study.
nielsen study
Americans are in front of screens 8.5 hours a day.
March 30, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger

Do you spend a third of the day in front of a screen? According to a study by Nielsen Co.—which knows a little bit about our viewing habits already via its longtime ratings system—Americans spend 8.5 hours viewing screens, the New York Times reports.

That means television screens, computers, cellphones, GPS units and more (geez, I even get a few viewing minutes on the news screen at my local gas pump each week).

The Ball State University researchers who conducted the study closely oversaw the habits of 350 subjects for almost 1,000 days, which age groups from 18 to over 65.

With TV remaining the predominant video viewing screen, Americans get in an average of 5 hours and 9 minutes of live viewing every day, and about 15 minutes of recorded DVR television programming, the study found.

Another conclusion was that even though there are so many more ways to watch video these days, like on the web or your phone, TV accounted for 99 percent of the video watching in the study overall, including 98 percent among tech-savvy 18-to-24-year-olds.

Other findings included:

  • Those 18-to-24-year-olds spend the least amount of time on live TV, about 3.5 hours
  • Viewers 25 to 34 spend the most time on DVD or VCR videos
  • Viewers 35 to 44 spend the most time on the web, 74 minutes a day
  • Viewers 45 to 54 spend the most time on email
  • Viewers 65 and over spend the most time on live video.

What else does all that viewing represent? More time and ways for manufacturers to bombard us with ads—over an hour’s worth per day (61 minutes) on average, the study says. Hey, at least the 30 percent of households with DVRs can fast-forward them.

Where do you fit in? And is most of your viewing live or recorded?


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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for and Electronic House magazine.

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