TV in Numbers: All the Stats and Facts You Need

It should come as no real surprise that people around the world spend a staggering amount of time in front of their electronics. Be it smartphones, tablets, laptops, or TVs. In the digital age that we’re currently in, we really don’t have a choice, for the most part. We need our devices for communication, for work, and, of course, for entertainment.

The latter, entertainment, is what we’re here to talk about!

Spotify has its annual wrap-up and YouTube has Rewind, but what are the numbers on watching TV? That’s what we want to know. In this article, we reveal just some of the incredible facts and statistics surrounding TV shows and watching them!

How long do people in America watch TV?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2015 American Time Use Survey (BLS ATUS), Americans spend roughly 2 hours and 47 minutes watching TV on an average day. That’s about 1/8 of the day and is, by far, the longest period of time dedicated to leisure.

But take note, that was in 2015. Before the booming popularity of streaming platforms. Further still, that doesn’t necessarily differentiate if they were watching TV shows or movies.

In recent times, I’d imagine that time period to be much longer! How many times have you lost track of time in the evenings telling yourself “just one more episode and then I’ll go to bed?” More times than you’d like to admit, I’m sure!

2015 is around about the time Netflix’s shares shot up. And 2016 saw that change reflected in the time spent watching TV. The New York Times reports that Nielsen’s data shows Americans watch 5 hours and 4 minutes of TV every day. Almost double what it was the year before!

Who watches TV the most?

In another study by the BLS for the 2013 to 2017 period, viewers older than 65 spent the most amount of time watching TV at around 4 hours and 14 minutes, while viewers aged 25-34 spent just 2 hours and 4 minutes watching. It makes sense, considering the former age group are likely retirees while the latter is still employed.

On that note, unemployed viewers spend an average of 3 hours and 49 minutes watching TV. While those who are employed, whether part-time or full time, spend just 2 hours and 8 minutes watching.

When do Americans watch TV?

The same BLS survey tells us that on average, people spend more time watching TV during the fall and winter seasons (around October through to March). We’re just speculating here, but it might have to do with those months having prime “Netflix and chill” weather. You know, with just enough chill in their air to snuggle with someone under the blankets.

On any given day, however, there’s a reason why shows fight for that primetime TV spot. Between 8 pm and 9 pm is the most popular time, with just under 60% of people watching TV on both weekdays and weekends and holidays. At 7 pm to 8 pm, roughly 50% of people are watching TV while about 55% are still watching at 9 pm to 10 pm.

How many TV households are there in America?

In the 2019-2020 TV season, Statista reports that there are a whopping 120.6 million TV households in America.

However, that’s still the smaller percentage as more and more people are moving to online streaming services.

Unsurprisingly, an average of 35% of adults aged 55 or older prefer watching pay-TV as opposed to the 7% of viewers aged 25 to 34, and the meager 1% who are younger than 25.

What TV programs are people still watching, then?

The Nielsen 2019 report on tops in the TV industry shows that in terms of single US telecasts, the Super Bowl LIII garnered the most viewers at 98.82 million viewers. Outside of sports, the only other shows that ranked within the top 10 were the Oscars (30.5 million) and the retrospective special episode of The Big Bang Theory that aired after its series finale (24.7 million).

Sunday night football was the most popular regularly scheduled program of the year, with an average of almost 20 million viewers. Other series’ that are within the top 10 ranks are CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Young Sheldon, and FBI, along with HBO Prime’s Game of Thrones and NBC’s This Is Us.

It seems that CBS had a very successful 2019 TV season!

How many subscribers to Netflix?

Statista also reports that in the third quarter of 2019, Netflix hit the 158 million subscriber mark worldwide. That’s excluding the roughly 5.5 million that were still on their free trial!

Another report from Tech Jury states that in December 2018, 60% of American adults had at least one person with a paid Netflix subscription in their household. Imagine the volume – and revenue! – now that it’s available in 190 countries.

Most Netflix-streamed show in 2019?

Apart from acquired shows, Netflix releases a constant slew of original content.

In 2018, they released one thousand original titles, which was more than three times what they produced the year before. In 2018, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that users had spent 52 billion minutes streaming The Office and 32.6 billion minutes watching Friends. Adding up to about 99,103 years and 61,983 years, respectively. That’s insane!

Just last October, Netflix revealed its top TV series up to September of 2019. Although they didn’t include the shows they acquired from elsewhere in said report. Stranger Things topped the list this year, with 64 million viewers!

What are the statistics on Hulu?

Though not nearly as much as Netflix, Hulu is also slowly starting to grow its customer base as well.

In May 2019, the platform revealed that it had increased by 12% so far, with their subscriber count up to 28 million so far.

While The Handmaid’s Tale had the most-watched premiere episode in 2018, Hulu has yet to reveal what its top TV shows were for 2019!

And as a bit of bonus information, it’s interesting to note as well that just one day after the launch of Disney+, it gained a staggering 10 million subscribers! Given all of these statistics, it’s no wonder that binge-watching TV shows have become so much a part of everyone’s daily lives. Guess it makes us feel a little less guilty knowing so many others around the world spend the same amount of time watching TV!

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