Ernie Kovacs, an American comedian and actor, once said that television was called a medium because it was "neither rare nor well done.” His words may have rung true in the past, but with the advent of subscription based T.V. services, television has seen increased competition and investment as companies vie for consumers. Series such as “The Crown” and “ER” had production costs of around 13 million U.S. dollars per episode in 2019, signifying that the “well done” comment isn’t quite as appropriate these days.
TV is one of the most popular mediums in the United States, reaching around 90 percent of adults per week. Audiences are able to choose from a plethora of programs, with latest figures suggesting there are over 1,700 TV stations in total. While adults are still spending a lot of time watching TV, the number of hours per day has decreased from 4.2 in 2014 to around 3.35 as of 2018. Young adults seem to spend significantly less time watching television than their older counterparts as alternative forms of entertainment have begun to greatly increase in popularity.
These falling viewership numbers don’t necessarily mean that people are watching less TV overall, just that they are beginning to turn away from traditional TV and move to subscription video on demand services such as Netflix. Consumers in the U.S. have been particularly quick to adopt new viewing technologies, but nevertheless, the number of TV households in the United States has continually increased over the last five years. Some of the most popular programs overall include Netflix originals like Stranger Things and Orange Is The New Black, alongside traditional cable tv programs such as Spongebob Squarepants and the Daily Show.
One of the industry’s major sources of income is advertising, a revenue stream which is expected to remain relatively stable over the next few years with annual totals of over 70 billion U.S. dollars. The share of this advertising that is attributed to online TV still accounts for less than ten percent of total advertising revenues, but as the popularity of online offerings continues to grow, this share is expected to increase. Companies like Procter & Gamble, AT&T, and Berkshire Hathaway spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on cable TV advertisement, and the country’s most popular programs charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for each 30-second advertisement spot.
Overall, the U.S. television market seems to have entered a time of transition rather than decline. Newer streaming platforms have made shows more accessible to many consumers, but networks that fail to adapt to these changes in consumer preferences are sure to lose their grip on the market.
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In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 46 most important statistics relating to "Television in the U.S.".