Television is America’s No. 1 pastime, with an average of four hours and 39 minutes consumed by every person every day. But more and more young people are tuning in elsewhere. Americans ages 12 to 34 are spending less time in front of TV sets, even as those 35 and older are spending more, according to research that will be released on Thursday by Nielsen, a company that tracks media use.
The divide along a demographic line reveals the effect of Internet videos, social networks, mobile phones and video games — in short, all the alternatives to the television set that are taking up growing slices of the American attention span. Young people are still watching the same shows, but they are streaming them on computers and phones to a greater degree than their parents or grandparents do.
It has long been predicted that these new media would challenge traditional television viewing, but this is the first significant evidence to emerge in research data. If the trends hold, the long-term implications for the media industry are huge, possibly causing billions of dollars in annual advertising spending to shift away from old-fashioned TV.
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