Turns Out Americans Are Watching More TV Than Ever

from the not-going-away-just-yet dept

While there's been some talk that other forms of entertainment, such as the internet, were starting to cut into TV watching time, someone apparently forgot to inform Americans. The latest Nielsen numbers show more TV being watched than ever before. Of course, there are plenty of additional factors to consider. As some note in the comments to that post, the high price of gas may make some folks stay at home more often than go out -- potentially leading to more TV watching. Also, it's not clear how much is actual TV watching vs. just leaving the TV on in the background while they do something else (such as surf the internet). The report also finds (not at all surprisingly) that more people are time shifting content they view on TV, though it still seems like a rather small percentage of overall TV watching. On the whole, though, it appears that the demise of TV is still a long ways off.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Quantity Surveyor Man, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 4:43am

    Maybe, Maybe Not.

    If they keep putting out high quality real life shows like "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette", TV will be doomed next week.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    kid, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:13am

    Internet... the new idiot box !!

    I feel soon the internet will take over TV as the fav pass time. And soon, the idiot box will be Internet http://www.kidunltd.com/scribbles/2008/06/30/idiot-box/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    abcdefg, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:45am

    ....

    Do they count those of us who just watch tv shows online?

    My actual TV has been nothing more than a collector of dust and a place to stack my consoles that I don't play anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    vic, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:46am

    idiot box

    Is it called an Idiot Box because idiots are in it or because idiots are watching it? Might be time to get out the Idiot Stick.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:10am

    @ kid - the internet is what you make of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:18am

    not surprising

    there are a number of TV shows that are surprisingly addictive. i think it's called the idiot box because it hypnotizes people into being stupid.

    vh1 has all of these time period shows that i am completely unable to turn away from.

    the same is true for a lot of stuff on discovery or the history channel. it sounds stupid, but shows about how stuff is made, or the history of things we use everyday is fascinating for some strange reason.

    the strangest phenomenon of all has to be animal planet. i swear they use subliminal messages to hypnotize you into watching their shows. almost every show on animal planet is a copy of a reality show on another network, only with animals instead of people. "animal cops" is cops, only with animals... the show about groomers is a fashion design show, only with dogs... why is that entertaining? i don't like reality shows with people, but for some reason reality tv with dogs is watchable. how is it that i can't stand survivor, but i can inadvertently kill most of an evening watching rodents fight over a hole in the dirt?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Haywood, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:21am

    Re: Maybe, Maybe Not.

    I actually watched a reality show last night. The Baby Borrowers is hilarious, and a public service as well. I do watch Hells kitchen as well, so I guess reality TV can work, but, I think TV is doomed due to lowest common denominator programing. Mostly I watch downloaded Brit TV. I like their crime dramas, their game/comedy/reality shows are mostly as lame as ours.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    OKVol (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:23am

    It's the economy

    People can't afford to go out as much anymore. So, they are sitting at home watching TV and drinking beer. You need plenty of beer to enjoy the shows that are on today, however.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Alimas, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:37am

    Always Surprised..

    I'm always surprised when I realize someone I know watches TV. I haven't paid for cable in about 11 years and don't miss it at all.
    Since then the price has nearly tripled, the channels just over doubled and the content quality (as I hear from friends and see in all other media) hasn't gone up at all.
    The sooner I stop seeing ads for these stupid shows everywhere the better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:39am

    Tell-A-Vision

    All those channels and still nothing to watch.
    Why not read a book or go outside and get some exercise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    moe, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:51am

    and still they prosecute the "pirates"

    I've found that I watch more TV because of downloading shows from the internet.

    I'd dropped off on watching Survivor & Amazing Race until my wife asked me to download a few episodes to catch up. Then, once we were caught up we tried to watch it during the normal broadcast times.

    There are other shows, like Lost and Heroes, that I didn't watch when they started. If I wasn't able to download those shows then I probably wouldn't have watched them at all.

    I know I'm not the only one with situations similar to this. And as many articles here have demonstrated, there is probably a net gain for content creators/distributors when it comes to grabbing things online. So, I'm still baffled at how reluctant those companies are when it comes to embracing this phenomonon and how eager they are to file lawsuits.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Philip, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 7:17am

    Re: Tell-A-Vision

    I agree. We were paying almost $50.00 a month and when we finally had time to sit down and watch TV there was nothing on but reruns. We made the leap and just canceled. Got a netflix account and watch may betwo to three shows a week. Don't really miss it at all(exept during college football season.:-)) As an added bonuses, our kids aren't getting boombarded with advertising, both me and my wife have lost weight, the yard is looking great and i discovered techdirt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Evil Mike, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 7:29am

    No Tv!

    ...and then there are those of us who gave away our televisions and watch almost no broadcast television at all. (Though, there's still the occasional DVD television show, or movie.) Removing oneself from the constant stream of spoon-fed thoughts has been most wonderfully liberating. Like learning to think.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Steve Austin, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 7:34am

    No more celebrities

    I watch TV now mostly off shows I record on my DVR.
    Most of the shit on tv nowadays is not worth watching, but at least if it's recorded, you can FF through the ads and the fluff, which unfortunately is 85% of most shows.
    I know this is summer, and it's supposed to be FUN television, but enough with the reality shows. If I have to see 1 more K-list "celebrity" show (aka washed up has-beens needing the money more than the charity they are playing for)
    I think I'm going to smash my TV with a sledgehammer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    JS Beckerist (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    I don't pay for cable, I use:

    I have a TV, a PC hooked to said TV via DVI cable, and a solid internet connection. I don't pay for cable, I use:

    http://www.hulu.com/ -- Last Comic Standing, Family Guy, American Dad, Simpsons, Scrubs, The Office...
    http://www.joost.com/ -- The National Geographic Channel is almost as addicting as the History Channel used to be for me, though there's a lot of other stuff too.
    http://www.southparkstudios.com/ -- Every single south park episode is available to watch. Paraphrased from Matt Stone and Trey Parker: "We got sick of having to pirate our own show, so we had our website guys hook us (and all of you!) up!"
    http://www.myeasytv.com/ -- Only have tried a few times when bored, but seems to be full of stuff.

    ...and of course the various Youtube, BreakTV... and Bittorrent sites out there that can get me shows within minutes of airing!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Joe, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    TV Watching

    One thing to keep in mind is that when companies research viewership of TV shows typically they either do phone surveys asking about viewing habits, they use cable boxes to track which channels are watched or they utilize cable operators/tivo to try to estimate viewer habits.

    None of these methods are the best way to do things
    1) Viewers typically don't remember their viewing habits perfectly, i know i couldn't tell you exactly what i watch in a given week...although I may know what I planned to watch
    2)Cable boxes are often left on even when no one is in the room although the TV may in fact be off, I know I used to do this all the time until i decided to see if i saved any money on my electric bill by turning off both
    3) The Tivo universe is relatively small although a much larger universe then you may see from a phone or box survey, same goes for cable companies like comcast that may share viewer habits with research firms doing these studies. Again you fall into the box is on but the TV is off issue.

    I don't think TV is dead, but I think with the emergence of online video portals TV will have a lot to prove to the consumers starting in the year 2011, such as why can't i pick to watch the shows i want when i want to watch them. At that point we will see Cable companies roll out purely on demand viewing. Granted that all depends on when high speed internet rolls out to a larger segment of the population (way too expensive, but to me a necessity) and people start to cancel their cable in droves to watch their shows on portals such as Hulu.com or even just custom made content like Youtube. In reality you can do it now with limited network selection, and grainy picture for your large TV if you have an AV input.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 8:38am

    2008 Olympics...

    I think it will be interesting to see the TV vs. PC ratings when the 2008 Olympics happen. I would probably prefer the PC live stream of the Olympics so I can watch the parts of the Olympics I want, and not just what they want to show on a given channel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Abdul, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 9:14am

    Re: 2008 Olympics...

    Well you've get to brace yourself of some disappointment on this one. NBC, which are the sponsors for the game here in the U.S. have stated that they will only show events on the internet after they have first air them on TV.May be the only ones you can watch live online are those events even your great grandfather would not be intersted in: Broadcast TV's Demise Is Premature(http://www.internetevolution.com/author.asp?section_id=622&doc_id=156745&F_src=flf two)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: 2008 Olympics...

    actually, the only 2 events I would care about would be soccer (which is supposed to have some games streamed live) and bmx racing. other than that.. I could care less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    funny man, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    Re: Maybe, Maybe Not.

    haha, that is so true. Let's make sure there is more mindless crap than ever so we can zombify ourselves in front of the tube.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 10:05am

    Re: Internet... the new idiot box !!

    the big difference between tv and internet is that the internet is a communication device that broadcasts in every direction. TV the signal only comes from a few sources the internet you can be a source. There are only a few companies like viacom that own most of the cable and news networks so its extremely easy to target people and you can brainwash them to see a certain point of view. You really think the song soja boy became a hit because it was good???? They just spoon fed it to ya till you believed you liked it. On the internet things are different. if a news story pops like this one we can COMMENT on it. Can't do that on a tv show. we can show bias in every direction making it hard to change people minds unless they want themselves to believe it. the internet is run by the people and for the people not by some imperialistic company that doesn't give a flying F*** about you, well besides spying on your habits so they know what to target next.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    CN, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 10:15am

    I don't watch it much any more.

    I used to watch the tube a lot, but not very much anymore. I found more often than not, TV is getting more annoying to watch all the time. The internet isn't the only place to get pop up ads. TV used to be cool... now more often than not I find it annoying. Just my opinion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Sean Sawka, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 12:11pm

    Do there numbers include DVR's?

    Are Tivo's and other DVR's included in these numbers? It could be that more Americans are recording more shows, but never going back to watch them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Smokey Robinson, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 1:27pm

    More TV, More Web Television Pools Network

    I agree that more people are watching TV and my wife is one of them (she alone probably watches more than Australia). But she came across a site which now has here watching tv and talking about it all at the same time. I checked it out and it seems pretty cool. Im not a tv watcher but the possibility of discussing, rating and betting (no money) on sports is surely inviting to me. TV definitely turns up the dumb meter but I think this site actually adds some originality back into sitting on the couch in front of the tube. THe site allows you to create pools (polls, whatever), invite friends, answer questions, discuss shows and events and even has all the celebrity news you can handle. While I probably wont be a user due to my lack of tube watching, I thought it might be good to toss it out there for those of you that do. the site is www.showpools.com
    Let me know what you guys think. If im plugging something worthwhile then i just might continue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    MySo-CalledLifeFan, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 3:03pm

    Can't help but bet on reality tv show outcomes!

    @Sean Sawka: Neilsen ratings do not take DVRs into consideration. That's why for the past year or so, many shows have had a decrease in ratings because they don't take DVRs into consideration. I bet a lot more shows would stay on the air if they factored in DVRs.

    I, for one, am an avid DVR user. It's the only way I can catch up with my favorite reality shows. And a year ago I started betting my co-workers and friends on the outcomes of American Idol and SYTYCD. And I've actually used pooling sites like ShowPools.com and find it very useful because it tallies points for you--something I used to do by hand!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:25pm

    Re: TV Watching

    I don't think TV is dead, but I think with the emergence of online video portals TV will have a lot to prove to the consumers starting in the year 2011, such as why can't i pick to watch the shows i want when i want to watch them. At that point we will see Cable companies roll out purely on demand viewing. Granted that all depends on when high speed internet rolls out to a larger segment of the population (way too expensive, but to me a necessity) and people start to cancel their cable in droves to watch their shows on portals such as Hulu.com or even just custom made content like Youtube. In reality you can do it now with limited network selection, and grainy picture for your large TV if you have an AV input.

    I feel the Y generation will demand "On Demand" type view of all channels their cable companies provide. (That is if they even use TV as a medium for entertainment.) The future of TV being streamed as On Demand is no doubt the future. As the Y generation reaches age to become a paying customer; I do wonder if cable companies will use these customers requests to push Congress for Net Neutrality. The Y generation plus the laziness of the American people will combine to create fuel for telco companies (which are increasingly becoming integrated with/offer cable services) to convince Congress this is what the people want. Of Course these companies will have launched a brainwashing campaign that it's for the best:
    Isnt the internet confusing?! Let us streamline it for you and give you want you want when you want it, just a few remote control clicks or mouse clicks away!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    moron, Jul 13th, 2008 @ 6:18pm

    TV

    The only time that I watch TV is when football (college or pro, not arena) is on. Interestingly, the quality of the game is declining as ever before. I still have a hard time deciding when to quit watching football completely; then, that's the end of cable for me. Mainly, TV is for watching DVD movies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2008 @ 6:53am

    Television is a waste of one's mind and time. The
    media isn't straight-shooting, so listening to news
    all the time leaves one misinformed, confused, and
    frustrated. I tis better to read several good newspapers and magazines, interesting blogs online, and listen to C-span
    online, too.

    Remember when TV was free, and then cable came in promising
    "no commercials". . now people pay a large amount for sub-par programming, replete with info-mercials, commercials, and other
    paid programming.

    If people would get smart and cancel cable, or reduce to the most basic level, maybe prices for cable packages would come down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This