America is Chronically Addicted to TV Compared to the Rest of the World

tv chart

Here’s a chart that’s just a wee bit terrifying, even if I do write for an exclusively TV-based site. It’s from the OECD and shows average household TV consumption per day by country, and there’s one data point that stands out.

That would be America, all the way on the left, clocking in over 8 hours of TV watched per day per household. Granted, that’s not one person spending every single hour they’re not working, at school or sleeping watching TV, and can be added up between family members, but still, it’s a huge amount.

It’s especially troubling when compared to the other country’s on the list. The next closest, Hungary, has barely more than five hours per day. Most countries fall in the 3-4 hour range.

Even as someone who watches a fair bit of TV, these numbers seem kind of insane to me. While there may be one or two shows on a day I like to watch, I’m never spending more than 2-3 hours watching TV every day. Although if I was a family of four, and we were all doing that, I see where that comes from. And I suppose there are those times when I’m binging on a show, and suddenly I’ve watched seven episodes of Breaking Bad in a row without even realizing it. Oh god, I really am part of the problem.

Why does America stand out here in being addicted to TV? What about our lifestyle encourages this much TV watching? What are other countries doing with all their non-TV watching free time?

Paul Tassi In addition to writing for TVOvermind, Paul has contributed to major publications such as Forbes. He's a video game expert as well as TV and Movie guy.
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  • david

    Speaking as a Brit, I can’t believe that we’re not at the top, or at least running the U.S. a close second. Incidentally, Australians always bang on about what an outdoor people they are, and how they have better thing to do than watch the tv, and there they are in the middle!