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Most Americans Underestimate TV Viewing Time

In The Economist this week, Joel Budd (interviewed here) considers the way television has clung on as an incredibly successful mass medium, even as time and new technology has hurt the music and newspaper industries.

In the final quarter of 2009 the average American spent almost 37 hours a week watching television. Earlier this year 116m of them saw the Super Bowl—a record for a single programme. Far from being cowed by new media, TV is colonising it.

Television is more dominant than ever. What's curious (and what this videographic captures) is the way we underestimate just how much television we watch, and overestimate our consumption of online video.

Do most people underestimate their viewing time because it is so passive (and therefore it hardly registers as time spent), or because of a latent sense of shame? And what explains the enduring, record-breaking popularity of the Super Bowl, year after year?

Read more at More Intelligent Life


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