Updated February 26, 2023

Television Statistics: 23 Mind-Numbing Facts to Watch

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A TV is a staple in most American households. But how much it is actually used? It's more than you think.

It's hard to imagine a life without TV.

You can tune in anytime for a veritable smorgasbord of programming. Anything from sitcoms and dramas to documentaries. Just like that, you spend hours in front of it.

You likely don't give much thought to time spent watching TV. But it's a keen focus for advertisers and marketing researchers. Also, the people who produce TV shows.

Let's look at the numbers.

TV Viewing Habits

Time spent watching TV has seen an uptick in recent years. It's a bit of a shock to see the numbers in black and white. If you're wondering how your TV-watching habits compare to the average person, they may not be as different as you think.

How many people watch TV each day?
Television is a major focal point of daily life for many Americans. Nearly 80% include TV and watch TV every day.

How many hours do they watch per day?
On average, the typical American views just around three hours of TV every single day. The majority of which is live programming.

How many hours do they watch over a lifetime?
The average person watches about 141 hours of TV per month or 1,692 hours per year. Assuming you reach the average U.S. life expectancy of 78, that's about 15 years of your life.

What's the average number of TVs per household?
The average American home features 2.3 TV sets. And 75% of households have one located in the living room. The master bedroom is the second most popular place for a TV. 64% of sets are located there.

How many homes have four or more?
These days, TVs can be found in just about every room of the house. 31% of American households own four sets or more.

What's the most popular time of day for watching?
Prime time is when most viewers are tuning in. 88% of people prefer to watch TV in the evening. Meanwhile, midnight to 6 am is the least popular time.

Who's Watching TV?

Who's watching all that TV? Here are some basic demographic statistics to see what the average viewer looks like.

What age group watches the most TV?
Surprisingly, the older generation spends the most time glued to the boob tube. On average 55% of those between 55 and 64 watch TV every day.

Are men or women watching more?
Men are more likely to be parked in front of the TV on any given day. Watching on average a few minutes more than women.

Which country watches the most TV?
Americans are spending the most time watching TV. They watch at least a few minutes daily over every country.

How People Watch

The Internet is chock full of websites where you can catch up on all your favorite programming. But many people still stick with traditional viewing methods. Here is where people watch their shows. And the most popular streaming services.

How many Americans pay for cable or satellite TV?
The number of subscribers has declined slightly in recent years. Yet roughly 65% of U.S. households still pay for TV services.

How many people watch via Netflix?
Netflix has become a heavy hitter in the TV-watching world. It has roughly 223 million global paid memberships. Users stream nearly 6 billion hours of TV shows and movies each month.

How many choose Hulu?
Its popularity pales in comparison to Netflix. Hulu is still making a name for itself in the streaming TV services realm. It has 48 million subscribers as of 2023.

What about Amazon Prime?
Amazon has been cagey about releasing hard numbers on subscribers. It has over 200 million subscribers.

Kids and TV

Experts will tell you that TV rots the brain and can be especially damaging for kids who are tuning in for hours at a time. We decided to include a rundown on how often kids are watching TV and what kind of impact it has on their overall well-being.

How much TV are kids watching?
Kids don't as much as their adult counterparts. But they do spend a lot of time looking at screens, mainly smartphones. Kids 8-12 spend 4-6 hours a day looking at a screen. Teens spend up to 9 hours.

How many TV acts of violence do kids view by age 18?
Studies estimate a child will see 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence on TV by the time they graduate high school. Kids' cartoon shows display up to 20 violent acts every hour alone.

Does watching TV affect academic performance?
Pediatric experts recommend younger kids watch no more than one to two hours of TV per day. For every hour beyond that limit, there's a 7% decrease in classroom engagement. And a 6% drop in math achievement.

TV Advertising

There's nothing more frustrating than having your favorite show interrupted by a commercial. But that's how advertisers get their bread and butter. Let's see how much cash companies are sinking into their TV ad campaigns.

How much time do we spend watching commercials?
Most television ads are 15 seconds long, while many clock in at 30 seconds.

How long is the average commercial?
More than 50% of television ads are 30 seconds long, while 44% clock in at just 15 seconds. Commercials totaling 60 seconds or more account for just 2% of all TV advertising.

How much is spent on TV advertising?
Advertisers spent a whopping 65.66 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. This number is expected to rise up to almost 70 billion in 2022.

What's the most expensive TV commercial ever made?
Although car commercials tend to dominate TV advertising, a perfume commercial cost the most. In 2004, Chanel shelled out a stunning $33 million on a 2-minute ad featuring actors Nicole Kidman and Rodrigo Santoro.

Bottom Line

Cutting the cord on your TV could be just the motivator you need. Whether to get up off the couch and start exercising. Maybe read that stack of books that you've got piled up. That's easier said than done, though.

Television, whether you love it or hate it, has become a staple of American life. And it doesn't look like it will be losing any popularity contests any time soon.

Sources and References:

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a tv comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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