Nielsen: Baby Boomers Are Watching Nearly 7 Hours of TV Every Day

Fri Aug 4, 2017

Kathy Crosett

The time spent engaging with specific media formats varies widely depending on the age of the boomersconsumer. The newly released data from Nielsen shows a big difference between baby boomers and millennials in terms of TV viewing. You’ll want to check out some of these key statistics before making your next pitch to a client.

Baby boomers increased their daily media consumption, on average, by nearly an hour in the past year. Between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017, the typical boomer went from 11 hours and 58 minutes spent with media to 13 hours and 15 minutes. This age group spends the most time with TV (live or time-shifted), giving up 6 hours and 42 minutes a day to the format. Nearly all of the increase in media time for this group in the past year came from the one hour jump in app/web use on smartphones.

Nielsen research revealed a similar trend for Gen Xers. These consumers dropped their daily TV viewing time by only a few minutes in the past year. The figure stands at 4 hours and 38 minutes. In a pattern that is similar to the baby boomer set, Gen Xers rack up approximately an hour more of media time each day by engaging with apps and the web on their smartphones this year.

While the typical baby boomer now checks his smartphone 2 hours and 29 minutes every day, and the Gen Xer looks at her apps for 2 hours and 36 minutes, the digitally native millennials aren’t much further ahead. Millennials spend approximately 2 hours and 51 minutes on their phones each day. Of these three generations, millennials also have the smallest amount of time spent with media overall – only 10 hours and 10 minutes a day. In the past year, the typical millennial cut back daily TV time by 12 minutes, and upped phone time by 51 minutes. Millennials also are managing to spend at least 30 minutes a day with their game consoles.

Nielsen researchers also looked at ethnicity and media use. This data is increasingly important for younger generations. While 78% of the Greatest Generation is non-Hispanic white, only 56% of Generation Z consumers are. Blacks make up 14% of the millennial group while Hispanics comprise another 21%, and 5% identify as Asian-American. Black millennials devote more of their media time to TV than other members of that age group. They watch 4 hours and 37 minutes of TV daily. They also spend more time on their phones – 2 hours and 57 minutes a day. Hispanic millennials only spend 2 hours and 40 minutes in front of the TV each day, but they’re looking at the smartphones for 3 hours and 13 minutes!

If your clients are preparing to target a specific age group or ethnic group, remind them to consider the vast differences in media use. Share this data from Nielsen as you help them craft an effective campaign.




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About Kathy Crosett

Kathy is the Research Director for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel.

View all posts by Kathy Crosett