Millennials actually still watch more stuff on TV than anywhere else

Still on top.
Still on top.
Image: AP Photo/Reed Saxon
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For all the talk of cord-cutting, US audiences still watch a lot of TV. In fact, they watch more video on regular old TV sets than they do on desktop computers and mobile devices.

The average 18-34-year-old millennial—said to be a leader in the cord-cutting revolution—spends more time watching traditional TV than eating, drinking, shopping, and watching YouTube—combined, found the Video Advertising Bureau (pdf), which analyzed data from Nielsen, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and ComScore, and argued that TV was still the best way to reach young audiences.

The average millennial viewer spends three hours a day watching TV—including live TV, DVR, and time-shifted viewing (but not apps like Netflix on a smart TV, for example)—compared to other activities, the report showed.

In a typical month, millennials watch more video on TV sets than popular platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Twitch, Hulu, Amazon, Twitter, and Snapchat. And US adults overall spend even more time in front of the TV.

So while TV sets are disappearing from American homes, they still dominate viewing.

But TVs aren’t just for traditional TV anymore. Smart TVs, media players like the Google Chromecast and Apple TV, game consoles like the PlayStation 4, and other devices allow you to stream a great many other things on TV sets aside from live-TV programming. Increasingly, that means streaming services like YouTube and Netflix that pay-TV providers and TV networks are competing against.

YouTube, the most popular video platform among millennials after TV, says people now watch 100 million hours of its videos a day on TV sets, about 10% of the 1 billion hours it says are watched as a whole each day. And it announced this week that it’s bringing its live-TV streaming service, YouTube TV, to even more TV sets, through media players like the Apple TV and XBox One, and smart TVs from manufacturers like Sony and Samsung. Previously, the live-TV app was only available via desktop, mobile, or Google’s own media player, Chromecast, which it said makes up over half of time spent on the app.

Facebook also launched a video app that is only for TV sets earlier this year. And Netflix, which counted more subscribers than cable TV for the first time this year, has said that a majority of viewing on its platform takes place on TV and desktop computers.

Streaming is officially invading TV.