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Americans Spend Over 11 Hours Per Day Consuming Media

We're all spending progressively more time staring at our screens. According to Nielsen's Q1 2018 Total Audience Report, the average US adult now spends upwards of 11 hours per day connected to linear and digital media across all devices and platforms.

The Why Axis BugThe report found that overall time spent has jumped significantly in the past year alone. Total time spent consuming media rose from 10:30 in Q3 2017 to 10:47 in Q4, and saw another 19-minute jump to 11:06 in Q1 2018. The lion's share of that still comes from live TV, but time spent on smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices continues to grow.

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Of those 11 hours, nearly six are spent watching video alone. Video time jumped half an hour from 5:27 in Q3 2017 to 5:57 in Q1 2018. Over four hours of that are spent watching TV, according to Nielsen, which uses a sample of over 40,000 homes.

Digital media consumption stats come from both panel surveys and Nielsen's own census data. The report found that time spent watching video on media-streaming devices has risen from 40 minutes in Q3 2017 to 46 minutes in Q1 2018. Nielsen said two-thirds of US TV households now have devices capable of streaming content to the TV. There was also an incremental uptick in time spent watching video on computers, smartphones, and tablets.


Media diets get even more interesting when broken down by age and demographics. Nielsen found that young adults 18-34 spend the largest percentage of time with TV-connected and digital devices compared to older demographics, with a lower total media usage time of 8:45 per day; only 2:17 comes from traditional TV watching. The rest is all digital media, aside from a 1:25 chunk devoted to radio.

As the demographics get older, total time spent increases. The age 35-49 bracket spends 11:09 per day consuming media, with over four hours watching TV and close to three hours on their smartphones. Total time jumps to 12:50 for ages 50-64 and back down to 12:16 for age 65-plus, though TV watching balloons to 6-7 or more hours per day for both groups.

Streaming and connected device usage are becoming the predominant media for both millennials and middle-aged adults, but older consumers are still content with old-fashioned TV watching.

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