7:31:32 AM

How much time do you spend watching TV?

Last week I stumbled across an interesting article that talked about how much time people are spending watching TV shows online thanks to services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. The number is increasing monthly. For instance, in the month of June, Netflix users watched 1 billion hours of video, which comes to more than an hour of viewing per user per day! (According to some studies, the average US viewer watches nearly 5 hours of TV daily. Whoa.)

It used to be, if you missed the first couple seasons of a show you would need to buy the previous seasons to catch up or have a friend fill you in on what you missed. Not so any more. Want to jump in and begin watching How I Met Your Mother? You can catch the first 6 seasons on Netflix. To view every missed episode would take you more than 50 hours. Or if you are nostalgic for the TV of your youth, you can watch all 6 seasons of Saved By The Bell, again that would take about 50 hours to get through. Four seasons of MadMen will cost you 40 hours, the entire Lost series will take more than 90 hours , 7 seasons of The Office will require 70+ hours and 12 seasons of Law and Order: SVU will consume more than 200 hours – that’s nearly nine days!


Looking at those numbers in bulk is overwhelming. I know plenty of people who have started watching a series thanks to its easy availability on Netflix. We don’t take the time to think through the amount of time it takes to watch all this TV but it adds up and can add up fairly quickly. True, many of us multi-task while watching TV, but it’s still a lot of time in front of the TV allowing someone else to fill our days and entertain us.

Just writing this and looking at my own TV and movie watching has me realizing how much more I could have done in the last year if I turned the TV off just half the time I flipped it on. I could have written another book, trained better to run a half marathon, reconnected with a friend, explored my city.

Have you caught up on your favorite show thanks to online viewing? 

This article is published by Katie Hinderer and under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

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