According to a new study from Deloitte (h/t TVTattle), “millennials” (Americans aged 14 to 25) watch 10.25 hours of TV per week—although they spend more time with “media” (including computers, videogames and music) than other age groups. Beyond that group, TV use goes up with age: 15.1 hours for Gen X (those aged 26 to 42), 19.2 hours for baby boomers (43-61) and 21.5 hours for “matures” (62-75).
(Apropos of an earlier discussion we had about TV advertising and age, and apropos the general unfairness of life, young viewers’ hard-to-get-ness is precisely one of the reasons advertisers pay more for that demographic per person. If the only show you watch is Gossip Girl—to exaggerate the issue slightly—Gossip Girl can name its price for an advertiser to reach you.)
I’m seeing this phenomenon at home already, where Tuned In Jr. now regularly gives up his TV time to play computer games instead. (His younger brother, at age 4, has not outgrown the tube quite yet.)
The question is whether these gaps are related to age or generation: i.e., whether “millennials” will watch more TV as they get older, or whether their cohort has developed other habits they’ll keep through life. (Will TV-watching someday be a cartoon shorthand for age, like holding a cane or using an earhorn?) The corollary question is whether, by the time they get older, the distinction between “TV” and other forms of media will be so blurry that the preceding question will be moot.
And the final question is: Why have you ingrateful whippersnappers abandoned the machine that raised you?