27 Intriguing TV Audience Demographics

Content might be king in the world of TV, but what an audience chooses to watch is based on their demographic preferences. How people are accessing this content is also changing. The days of tuning it at a specific time to watch a favorite show and all of the commercials which support the content are slowly disappearing.

98% of US households own at least 1 TV and will spend an average of 7 hours and 40 minutes with it on every day.

The number of households with multiple TVs is also increasing. 35% of households own two TV sets, but 41% of households own 3+ TV sets. People watch TV during dinner. They have it on while multitasking. Even children today are spending as much time in front of the TV as they are playing outside. These TV audience demographics will definitely make you think about your own habits.

Fun Facts About the TV Audience

  • 25% of people who own a TV will fall asleep while watching it at least 3x per week.
  • The percentage of Americans who say that they watch too much TV on a regular basis: 49%.
  • 6 million videos are rented every day in the United States, but only 3 million books are checked out from a local library each day.
  • The average child in the US will spend 20 hours every week watching TV. For children 1 year old or younger, it is 6 hours per week despite the recommendation that children under the age of 2 watch no TV at all.
  • 70% of daycare centers utilize a TV as part of their services.
  • 40% of Americans have the TV on while they are eating dinner.
  • The average child will view 20,000 commercials while watching TV every year.

TV has become an important part of a family’s lifestyle wherever it is available. It becomes an easy source of entertainment. As some might say, it is something that is “mindless” to do. In a world where information is everywhere, the ability to consume content that is funny, engaging, or even violent becomes a way to escape from that world for a little bit. That’s why advertisers are still engaged with this content medium as it begins evolving. A child can develop brand loyalty to products, after all, but the age of 2.

How TV Audience Demographics Function

  • 61% of people who watch TV frequently say that they will check on their email while watching content. Women [64%] are more likely than men [58%] to do this.
  • 34% of TV viewers will use another information source to check on the score of a game they’re trying to follow. 44% of men admit to doing this.
  • 1 out of 5 TV viewers will go online to check for coupons because of a product or service they saw advertised while watching content.
  • 47% of the TV audience is actively engaged on Facebook, Twitter, or another social network at the same time.
  • In every demographic of TV usage, including DVR usage and video game console use, only one demographic had a decrease in time used: Asians used their DVRs for 4 minutes less per day on average than the year before.

If content is king on TV, then TV is slowly losing. People might be parking in front of their TVs more often today than in the past, but they are also multitasking a lot more than they used to as well. How much content is actually being consumed while checking emails or updating a Facebook status? With TV content also more interactive now, as consumers check on products or deals that are being advertised, the way people consume content is evolving. This is why TV must continue to evolve if they are going to keep their audience engaged.

The Changing Ways People Watch TV

  • Since 2012, the average TV watcher is spending more time watching time-shifted TV instead of live television.
  • More than 1 hour of TV programming is being watched using a computer which is connected to the internet.
  • Smartphone access of TV content has grown from 53 minutes per day in 2012 to 93 minutes per day in 2014.
  • Radio content is being sacrificed for TV content. People are listening to fewer minutes of music or talk content per day on AM/FM stations and shifting to TV watching on various multimedia device platforms.
  • Tablet penetration among Asian Americans has also risen 17% percentage points during the period.
  • In the Q3 2014, Black/African-American viewers’ monthly time spent watching traditional television was the highest of any group, with these consumers logging an average of more than 201 hours per month.
  • In total, the average TV viewer connects with content on every available platform for an average of 140+ hours per month.

As TV content becomes available on services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, some households are shifting their viewing habits away from live TV. Called “cutting the cord,” they are still able to access the content they want, but with delays that may be for up to 1 year or more before they can access it. To accommodate these users, the TV industry is offering low-cost live streaming options, paid apps to watch on tablets and smartphones, and other streaming selections to keep the audience involved with the content. It’s working: Hispanics, for example, spend over 52 minutes per day accessing content on an app or over the mobile web.


The Negative Effects of TV Watching

  • 54% of kids aged 4-6 say that they would rather spend time watching TV when compared to spending time with their dad.
  • The average American youth spends 100 hours more watching TV than they do attending school every year.
  • 95% of the TV time that children 7+ spend every day occurs without the company of their parents.
  • 56% of kids aged 8+ have a television in their room and 30% of these kids usually watch the TV on their own there.
  • Only 1 in 12 parents in the US state that they require children to do their homework before turning on the television.
  • More than 200 advertisements for unhealthy foods are aired during a typical 4 hour watching period that focuses on child-friendly television content.
  • 14% of TV watchers have had no recent exercise of physical activity which they can recall.

As with anything, TV viewing is good in moderation. There’s nothing wrong with watching a favorite show or movie as a way to relax. It’s when this becomes a lifestyle where watching TV is basically all someone does outside of work or school where it becomes a problem. Watching more than 21 hours of TV per week places people at a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes development. The TV audience demographics show that almost everyone fits into one of these categories. The goal should be simple: to fit into the healthiest viewing habits possible.

What Americans Watch

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