Weekly time spent watching live TV in the U.S. 2018

The average time spent watching live television per week in the United States was 24.4 hours as of the second quarter of 2017, with forecasts for the same time period in 2018 suggesting that this figure will decrease by almost two hours.

Why would people watch less live TV?

Although watching television has always been among the most popular media activities in the world, with the advent of the streaming market and its increasing popularity, the appeal of live TV is waning. Paying for movie and TV streaming services is becoming more commonplace, and companies like Netflix offer a wealth of content which live TV cannot always match. However, paid streaming services are not live television’s only competitor.

Online video market leader YouTube allows viewers to enjoy not only music videos but entire movies, recordings of older shows and an incredible amount of user-generated content unlikely ever to make it to traditional television. Meanwhile, the kind of content that live TV can deliver which is totally unique is dwindling, and gradually becoming limited to talk shows, reality TV and news programs. As streaming services grow even more sophisticated in terms of what they offer and how they do it, it is possible that live TV viewing will be left behind whist audiences pursue online content they can watch on the go, on their mobile and at the click of a button.

Average weekly time spent watching live TV in the United States from 4th quarter 2013 to 2nd quarter 2018

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Release date

January 2018


United States

Survey time period

Q4 2013 to Q2 2017

Supplementary notes

* forecast

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