On average in 2023, Americans spend 5.5 hours per day watching TV/video, up slightly from 5.2 hours in 2021, with year-over-year growth in over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV and free online video viewing leading the increase. Older Americans (60+ years old) spend two times as many hours watching traditional linear TV as young adults (18-29 years old), while women spend more time than men streaming subscription video content according to a recent Kagan Consumer Insights survey.
➤ On average, Americans spend 5.5 hours per day watching TV/video content, up modestly from 5.2 hours in 2021. The increase is due primarily to an uptick in time spent viewing OTA broadcast TV and streaming of free video.
➤ Adults 60 years of age and older spend an average of six hours per day watching TV/video, compared to less than five hours per day for adults 18-29 years of age. The survey found that time spent viewing content from traditional linear TV increased with age but viewing of online video content was essentially flat among those under 50 years old, then trailed off among older adults.
➤ Overall, men and women each spend over five hours per day watching TV/video. Men tend to spend more time watching traditional linear TV, while women spend more time watching content from streaming subscription services.
According to the Kagan US first-quarter Consumer Insights survey and historical survey data, average daily TV/video viewing hours in the US increased over the past two years, from 5.2 hours per day in 2021 to 5.5 hours this year. The data highlights a modest multiyear growth trend in watching over-the-air broadcast TV, along with a slight year-over-year uptick in free video streaming.
The survey results reveal that the average time consumers spend per day watching TV and video increases with age. For example, the study found that young adults ages 18-29 spend an average of 4.8 hours per day watching TV or video content, compared with 6.2 hours per day for those 60 years of age and older. The survey found that older adults (60+) spend the vast majority of their time (4.7 hours per day) watching traditional linear TV, defined as content being derived from OTA, traditional multichannel or virtual multichannel services. In contrast, young adults (ages 18-29) spend 2.6 hours per day) of their time viewing traditional linear TV.
Examining the data as a percentage of overall viewing hours helps to further illustrate how TV/video viewing behavior changes across the various age groups. For instance, 18-29 year olds spend over half (54%) of their time watching traditional linear TV. 60+ year olds, on the other hand spend over three quarters (77%) of their time watching traditional linear TV, and only 13% streaming live video. The survey data also shows that 20-somethings (18-29) spend 22% of their time streaming subscription video content, more than double that of those 60+ years of age.
The survey also found that average daily viewing hours in total were not substantially different among men (5.5 hours) and women (5.4 hours). However, the data shows that men tend to spend more time viewing traditional linear TV than women, possibly due to watching sports. Women tend to spend more time than men watching content from subscription video streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
When looking at the percentage of time spent viewing TV/video, the survey data shows that men spend over two-thirds (69%) of their average daily TV/video viewing hours watching traditional linear TV, compared to 63% for women. SVOD content represents 19% of TV/video viewing for women, five percentage points higher than men. Overall, women spend 37% of their average daily TV/video viewing hours watching online content, compared to 30% for men.
Data presented in this article was collected from Kagan US Consumer Insights surveys conducted during first-quarter 2021, 2022 and 2023. Each of the US Consumer Insights surveys consisted of approximately 2,500 internet adults, with a margin of error of +/- 1.9 ppts at the 95% confidence level. Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.
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