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Latin America and Asia Pacific tie as the two global regions with the highest rates of watching TV, according to a new study from The Nielsen Company.

Europe Lags in TV Penetration
“How People Watch” indicates that dividing TV penetration by global region, Latin America and Asia Pacific tie for the highest index score of residents who have watched TV at home in the past 30 days (104). The European Union comes in with a substantially lower index score of 89. North America and Middle East, Africa and Pakistan (MEAP) slightly trail Latin America and Asia Pacific, each scoring 101 on the home TV index.

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Hong Kong Heaviest TV-watching Market
Broken down by national market, Hong Kong has the highest global score on the home TV index (109), with Brazil, China and India all right behind (tied at 108). Other markets with a high TV index score include the Philippines (107), Italy (106) and five countries tied at 104: UAE, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and Vietnam.

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On the low end of the TV-watching scale, the national markets with the lowest index scores were all European. Germany had the lowest score (68), with Austria and the Netherlands tying at 69 and Switzerland scoring 70. The lowest-scoring non-European market was Japan (84), 46th out of 55 global markets covered.

The US scored 101, placing it 23rd. Canada followed closely with an index score of 97, placing it 29th.

Taiwan Has Highest Reach
In terms of reach, TV has the highest reach in Taiwan, reaching 99.4% of the population. Other nations where TV reaches virtually every resident include Greece (99%) and Mexico (98.5%). Reach in the US is slightly lower at 97.2%. Puerto Rico had a substantially lower TV reach (82%) than the next-lowest market, South Africa (93%).

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US Viewers Average More than 5 Hrs/Day
The average American watches five hours and four minutes of TV per day. The only markets with a higher daily average are two former Yugolsav republics: Serbia (five hours, 39 minutes) and Macedonia (five hours, 18 minutes).

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Five global markets average less than three hours of TV watching per day per person: Australia (2:59), Taiwan (2:41), China (2:36), Venezuela (2:35) and Thailand (2:11).

US Time-shifted TV Up
In the past year, Americans have significantly increased the amount of timeshifted TV they watch, according to other recent Nielsen data.

On average, Americans spent nine hours and 36 minutes watching timeshifted TV (such as with a DVR device) per month in Q1 2010, a 14.7% increase from eight hours and 22 minutes per month in Q1 2009. In contrast, the monthly rate of watching TV in the home grew 1.3% from 153 hours and 47 minutes in Q1 2009.

About the Data: Data is taken from a March 2010 survey of 27,665 online consumers ages 15 and up in 55 countries.

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