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The Latest Nielsen Reports Are In: We’re Hardly Ever Not-Watching Television

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Photo: Yvonne Hemsey/2013 Yvonne Hemsey

You know that thing when you’re talking about the best shows on television and your friend is all, “Oh, I don’t really have time for that”? What they’re really telling you is that they don’t have time in their busy schedule of daily TV-watching for the program that you like. On Monday, Nielsen released its quarterly Total Audience Report on the state of media consumption, which revealed that the typical American watches four-and-a-half hours of live TV everyday, and another 30 minutes on DVR —  or, as Nielsen alleged in another chart, 32 hours in a week. That’s pretty close to the 40 hours expected for, you know, a job. That thing that allows you to be a productive part of society.

The report had plenty of other figures, including that, for the first time ever, over 50 percent of Americans subscribe to a streaming service (Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu). Also, despite the takeover of podcasts, typical Americans are still listening to nearly two hours of AM/FM radio daily, averaging about the same amount of time as they were in 2014 and 2015. Perhaps most depressing, if not unexpected, the average time spent on a smartphone or tablet has ballooned since 2015: 60 percent and 63 percent, respectively. But, hey, at least you’re crushin’ it at Candy Crush. Right?

Nielsen Confirms: We’re Addicted to TV