Our daughter came home from college the other day. She’s a sophomore who, when she lived in our house, watched tv for hours at a time. Years ago it was “The Power Rangers”, before that “Sesame Street”. In high school she seemed to be wide-eyed in front of the television whenever she didn’t have a phone pushed up to her ear. Of course she did both simultaneously too.
This time though, zip. I’d say except for a few hours of us watching our homemade Christmas videos that put together every year, she did not watch more than 20 minutes of tv the entire time she was home.
And I can say that matter of factly because the tv in her room isn’t connected to cable and she spent most of the time in her room.
I mentioned this to someone in our newsroom today and tonight, I found this article. An actual report shows that young people watch less tv than they used to.
The Deloitte report shows that kids age 14-25 watch just 10.5 hours of television a week.
When I was that age on break from school I’d watch nearly 10.5 hours in a day.
Here’s how that compares with other generations.
15.1 hours for those belonging to Generation X (ages 26-42), 19.2 hours for baby boomer (43-61) and 21.5 hours for matures (62-75).
The curious thing about the findings is that while the 14-25 age group watches less tv than anyone else, they actually spend more time with media than the other groups. According to the study, and according to what I noticed with my 20 year old daughter, they spend time on the computer watching videos, video chatting, e-mailing and texting. Facebook is probably in there somewhere but I was surprised that my daughter had never heard of Twitter.
What does all this mean? For people who’s jobs depend on people watching the local evening news, it’s scary. The economy and the possible bankruptcy of the Big 3 automakers is making it tough enough for tv stations to survive. But with an already dwindling audience who’s got 140 other channels to choose from, here comes a generation of kids who can’t find ABC, NBC or CBS with a television remote if their iPods depended on it.
What’s going to happen when these 14-24 year olds get just a bit older and become that demographic every advertiser is trying to reach?
We, and I mean that as the television industry, better start doing a better job of getting their attention before they tune us out completely.