Summary:

The average amount of time U.S. viewers spent watching TV declined by about 14 minutes a month in the second quarter. But don’t worry, TV execs, that’s out of about 140 hours of TV viewed on average, and about 30 seconds less TV per day.

couch potato

Here’s an interesting data point: According to Nielsen, the rate of TV viewing in the U.S. declined in the second quarter 2010, with consumers watching 14 minutes less TV per month than in the previous year’s second quarter. But if you’re a broadcast exec holding tight to your old media business, don’t be too alarmed — to put that in perspective: that’s a 14-minute decline out of more than 140 hours of TV viewing a month, or about 30 seconds less TV per day.

According to Nielsen’s State of the Media report, U.S. viewers watched an average of 143 hours and 37 minutes of TV in the second quarter, which was down from 143 hours and 51 minutes in the same period a year prior. But DVR usage was up; Across all TV viewing households, the amount of time-shifted TV viewers watched per month increased to 9 hours and 27 minutes, up from 8 hours and 2 minutes a year earlier.

The second quarter is typically a slow period for TV viewing, anyway. Kids get out of school; families go on vacation; and TV episodes go into reruns. New shows that appear in the summer tend to be weaker than those that open in the fall and spring TV seasons. Compared to the 143 hours of TV viewed per month in the second quarter of 2010, viewers watched an average of 158 hours of TV in the first quarter.

However, it’s worth noting that TV execs might start worrying about the future generation of potential TV viewers, as they tend to watch less TV than any other age demographic. Teens aged 12 through 17 watched about 100 hours of TV a month, compared to seniors, who watched nearly twice as much TV a month.

In fact, if you read down the list of age demographics, it’s clear that either TV viewers are getting older, or older people just happen to end up watching more TV. Either way, it’s not a good sign for TV programmers and cable companies, which are gradually seeing their viewers get older.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Keirsten Balukas

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