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Hub: TV and film’s share of screen-based leisure time hits low

The study examined how American consumers divvy up their entertainment time and looked in particular at the impact that new sources of video-based entertainment are having on traditional TV and film viewing. It was conducted among 2,179 US consumers aged 13-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week and have broadband service. The data were collected in December 2021.

Video Redefined found fundamentally that consumers have more sources of screen-based entertainment at their disposal than ever before. And, said Hub, one of the casualties of that competition for time has been TV and film viewing, especially among young adults.

TV and films now account for less than half of all consumers’ screen-based leisure time, the lowest level since Hub has been tracking entertainment habits. Specifically, TV and films now account for just 48% of all the time consumers say they spend with screen-based entertainment, down 5 points from a year ago, and down 11 points from 2019. Replacing TV and film time was time spent watching online videos, gaming, and browsing social media, up an equivalent 5 points from the same time a year ago.

What could be a worrying trend is emerging where younger and older consumers now bear almost no resemblance when it comes to how they spend their entertainment time. Hub saw 35 years as the start of a major shift toward TV and films as the primary source of entertainment time. By contrast, those aged over this level spent 60% of their time watching TV and films. For those aged 13-24, TV and films account for just a quarter of entertainment time and the percentages are almost exactly the reverse for time spent on online videos, gaming, and social media: 57% for 13-24; just 28% for 35+.

In addition, 13-24 year olds estimated that they now spend nearly 14 hours per week watching “non-premium” online videos, that is videos that are not traditional TV shows or films. That was only about an hour less than the time they estimate they spend watching TV and films. At the other end of the spectrum, 35+ consumers spent 2.5 as much time watching TV and films than online videos.

When asked directly, half of young consumers acknowledged that the time they spent with other screen-based entertainment has cut into their TV viewing time. Just over half (51%) of those aged 13-24 say they spend less time watching TV shows and films because of the time they spend on gaming, online videos, social media, and other non-TV entertainment activities. Only 19% of those aged 35+ said other screen-based viewing was cutting into their traditional TV and film time.

“When it comes to sources of screen-based entertainment, younger and older consumers could not be more different,” said Peter Fondulas, Hub principal and co-author of the Video Redefined study. “The million-dollar question is whether today’s young consumers will always prioritise non-traditional content—or whether they’ll start to resemble older consumers as they grow older. Our prediction is that their behaviours are so ingrained that non-traditional content will always be a significant part of their entertainment consumption.” Rapid TV News

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