The average American watched 34 hours 39 minutes of TV per week in Q4 2010, a year-over-year increase of two minutes, according to [pdf] data collected in November 2010 by The Nielsen Company. The heaviest users of traditional TV are adults 65 and older (47 hours, 33 minutes per week), followed by adults 50-64 (43 hours per week), with teens age 12-17 watch the least amount of TV (23 hours, 41 minutes per week).
African-Americans Heaviest, Asians Lightest TV Watchers
Examining TV viewing trends by ethnicity, African-Americans spend the most average daily time viewing overall and live TV, as well as DVD playback and video games. Nielsen data also indicates whites spend the most time viewing DVR playback.
Asians spend the least amount of average daily time viewing most TV-related media. Asians average three hours and 14 minutes per day of overall TV viewing, compared to seven hours and 12 minutes for African-Americans. In terms of average daily live TV viewing, Asians average two hours and 34 minutes, compared to six hours and 16 minutes for African-Americans.
Asians also average nine minutes of daily video games, compared to 16 minutes for African-Americans; and 12 minutes for DVD playback, compared to 18 minutes for African-Americans.
Figures differ for average time spent viewing DVR playback, however. Whites spend the most average time per day viewing this media (27 minutes), and Hispanics spend the least (14 minutes). It is also worth noting whites have the second-highest average daily viewing time for every other form of media covered by the study.
Adults 35-49 Timeshift Most
In Q4 2010, the average American watched two hours and 21 minutes of timeshifted TV per week. The heaviest timeshifters were adults 35-49, watching 3 hours 8 minutes of timeshifted TV a week. Teens ranging from age 12-17 watch the least amount of timeshifted TV per week, just 1 hour 31 minutes and the adults age 18-24 are close behind, watching 1 hour 32 minutes of timeshifted TV per week.
Examining ethnic trends relating to timeshifting, Hispanic TV households own the fewest DVRs. As of February 2011, 28.8% of Hispanic TV households owned a DVR, whereas 36% of Asian TV households owned a DVR, according to February 2011 Nielsen estimates.
2010 TV Ad Spend Grew 8% YOY
Spending on TV advertising grew 8% in 2010 compared to 2009, reaching $69 billion. This represented 57% of the $120 billion spent on all US advertising last year. Ad dollars spent in primetime specifically increased 6% from 2009 to $20 billion, accounting for 43% of spending. Ad dollars spent in primetime specifically increased 6% from 2009 to $20 billion, accounting for 43% of spending.
The 30-second commercial remains the television advertising standard in primetime, accounting for 53% of all commercials in 2010. However, Nielsen data shows commercials are getting shorter; the number of commercials 30-seconds or less increased 12%, while the number of commercials 35 seconds or more decreased 6%.
Drama/Adventure Offers Best Recall
Nielsen data indicates commercials that air during drama/ adventure shows generate the strongest brand recall, as consumers who are engaged in the programming also remain attentive during the commercials. Reality shows follow, with relatively stronger brand recall than sitcoms. Two exceptions are Asian Americans and younger viewers (ages 13-34), who remember the ads that air during reality shows better than sitcoms.
Hispanics View TV in Language Used at Home
US Hispanics are most likely to watch TV in the language primarily used in their home, according to data released in April 2011 by The Nielsen Company. In home where English and Spanish are used equally, there is an even split in which language is used for TV viewing.
Hispanic homes where English is the dominant language were by far the most likely to watch TV in their primary language. On average, a combined 97% of TV viewing in these homes is conducted in English. Three percent of TV viewing time is spent watching Spanish language broadcast TV, with essentially no time spent watching Spanish language cable.
In contrast, the average Spanish-dominant Hispanic home views a combined 78% of TV in Spanish. English language broadcast TV accounts for 19% out of the remaining 22% of TV viewing time.
Hispanic homes where the two languages are used equally have equal distributions of English and Spanish language TV viewing (44% of time spent viewing both English and Spanish language cable TV, 7% of time spent viewing both English and Spanish broadcast TV, total more than 100% due to rounding).