You just have to love these Nielsen studies, don’t you? I mean, come on, now. Those guys can turn any tiny piece of data into a multitude of conclusions. “The top 10 television shows watched only by cats between 2:39 p.m. and 2:55 p.m. on Wednesdays that occur only during the summer months.” Or “39 percent of all Armenians with a smartphone have watched ‘The Big Bang Theory’ a total of 3.9 times per day when the sun rises before 7:04 a.m.” Or “Study: Those who enjoy eating pizza also love watching the Food Network.”
Brilliant, I tell you. These people are brilliant.
And earlier today, those wry, little smarty smart pants did it again when they released what they found in a study that concluded (surprise!) people are currently watching television shows on their own time now more than ever. Sound like a run-on sentence? You’re right. But back to the data. Take it away, Associated Press …
“In the past year, time-shifting of television content grew by almost two hours, averaging 13 hours per month, the study found,” the news organization wrote this morning. “Viewers averaged nearly 134 hours of live TV viewing a month in 2013, down nearly three hours from 2012. … On average, American consumers own four digital devices, the report found. The majority of U.S. households own high-definition TV sets, Internet-connected computers and smartphones, while nearly half also own digital video recorders and gaming consoles.”
Oh, but that’s not all. Among the other juicy nuggets:
- The average person spends almost 60 hours a week “viewing content.” Again: 60. Hours. A. Week. So, let’s have some fun with this, shall we? Let’s say you work an eight hour job, five days a week. Let’s also conclude that you sleep an average of eight hours a night. That leaves you eight hours a day to, you know, live. Eight times five is 40. Add that total to two weekend days we will, for the sake of this blog post, presume you don’t work. Subtract eight hours a day for sleep and 48 – 16 = 32. Now, add those together: 40 + 32 = 72. So, out of the 72 non-working, non-sleeping hours in a week, 60 of those are used, again, “viewing content.” Wow. Would it really kill you to read a book or take a walk or, say, eat something? Goodness, gracious that number hurts.
- “Breaking Bad” generated six million tweets last year. Really?! That number seems low, no? Or was it just my own Twitter feed that wouldn’t shut up about how the thing might end?
- Conversely, sports events generated more than 400 million tweets. Yep. That sounds about right.
- And, of course, two out of every five 18-to-24-year-olds use social media in the bathroom. Yet only three out of every five actually wash their hands. OK. That last part was a lie.
What does it all mean? Well, it means what we already knew: With the rise in popularity of Internet TV, people are slowly (though surely) realizing that the networks actually don’t control when they can and cannot watch their favorite television programs. That’s the niche’s appeal, duh. If I can’t be home on Sunday nights to watch “The Good Wife,” that’s all right. Because there is Hulu. Or Netflix. Or bootlegged sites. Or … oh, I don’t know … DVDs.
The art of television consumerism is changing, and we don’t need the fine people at Nielsen to tell us as much in order for us to know that it’s already happening. Now, quit reading blogs and watching “Top Chef” reruns online, and go work out at the gym! At this point in the week, you probably have less than 10 hours to do as much, anyway. Get moving!