Research: TV, movie viewing time shrinks

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According to findings from research firm Interpret, TV and movie viewing has become a smaller portion of consumers’ overall weekly entertainment time over the past two years. At the same time, the share of weekly time spent on other entertainment pursuits, particularly digital activities, has increased. The net result is an increased diversity in time spent on consumer entertainment, particularly among young consumers.

Interpret’s study, Holistic Entertainment 2021: The Complete Consumer, reveals that the average weekly time spent on entertainment overall has increased by an average of five hours between 2019 and 2021. While TV and movie viewing hours increased, their growth has been significantly outpaced by other forms of entertainment.

  • Broadcast and cable network viewing fell by approximately one hour per week during the period.
  • Hours spent on streaming services offset the decline in broadcast and cable TV viewing.
  • Music, gaming, and podcasts have become a larger share of consumer entertainment. Mobile gaming in particular has increased, with US consumers spending over 2 hours more per week on mobile games in 2021 than in 2019.
  • Reading physical media (printed books, newspapers, and magazines) declined in entertainment share, as did, not surprisingly, attendance at live events.

“Overall, consumers’ time spent on entertainment is becoming more diverse,” notes Brett Sappington, Vice President at Interpret. “Movies and TV programming still represent the largest share of entertainment time, but other activities are rapidly encroaching. Young consumers in particular see gaming, short form video, and livestreaming as valid, even preferable, alternatives to premium video content. The industry must continue to push the boundaries of entertainment in order to engage with consumers and remain relevant over time.”


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