How much TV millennials watch a day varies

  • By Emily Yahr The Washington Post
  • Friday, March 25, 2016 3:33pm
  • Life

Millennials and their millennial ways have been all over the news this week, and by coincidence, Nielsen is joining the party.

On Thursday, the measurement company released a report looking at the most recent TV-viewing habits. And unlike in most discussions of the demo, Nielsen acknowledges that not all millennials (considered people age 18 to 34) are alike.

“18- to 34-year-olds are not a monolithic group with a common set of technologies or behaviors,” Glenn Enoch, SVP of audience insights, wrote in the report. “Their lives are in rapid transition as they join the workforce, move into their own homes and start families.”

So, take comfort, adults who are enraged when they’re lumped in with 18-year-olds in a millennial trend story. For this survey, Nielsen split up millennials into three categories to accurately capture how they operate: “Dependent Adults” (Stage 1), living in someone else’s home; “On Their Own” (Stage 2), living in their own home without kids; and “Starting a Family” (Stage 3), living in their own home with kids.

Using those stages, Nielsen looked at how much TV each category consumes each day, and found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, it varies — the answer is different depending on what kind of millennial you are.

According to data from the final quarter of 2015, the average person age 18 to 34 spends four hours and eight minutes per day using the TV — that’s about 2 hours and 45 minutes of live TV viewing and an hour and 23 minutes using a “TV-connected device,” which could include anything from a DVR to video game console to an Apple TV to simply plugging a smartphone/tablet into a television.

As you might expect, “On Their Own” millennials watch less than the other groups, clocking in at 3 hours and 38 minutes of TV a day. Given that they don’t have kids, so they’re more likely to be out and about. On the flip side, “Starting a Family” millennials watch the most television of the three groups (what else are you going to do with kids?), resulting in about 4 hours and 40 minutes a day.

However, when “On Their Own” millennials sit in front of the TV, they’re more likely than any other category to use a TV-connected device.

For a deeper dive, Nielsen looked at all age brackets to see who doesn’t use a TV at all. The younger you go, the more likely it is that the person would use just a “TV-connected device” (in this case, anything except a TV or DVR, and something like a videogame console or DVD player) and not watch “traditional” television, either live or recorded.

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