Watching TV and Movies Makes Up One-Third of Entertainment Spending in the United States, The NPD Group Says

TV and movie watching is the most common entertainment activity, comprising the largest share of entertainment time spent

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., September 11, 2019—It’s official: Whether it’s from a pay TV service, streaming video, or over the air, nearly everybody (91 percent) in the United States watches TV and movies. In fact, watching movies and television in the U.S. currently accounts for 33 percent of all entertainment spending and 31 percent of all time spent on entertainment activities, according to The NPD Group.

“TV and movie watching represents both the most common entertainment activity, and accounts for the greatest share of overall entertainment time across all U.S. consumer demographics,” said Kathi Chandler-Payatt, media entertainment industry analyst for NPD. “Watching TV and movies is habitual, with most people watching content on a daily basis for an average of three hours a day, and they enjoy the ability to either multitask or watch purposefully.”

According to the NPD “Evolution of Entertainment Study,” nearly all TV and movie watchers have paid subscriptions to at least one major cable- or satellite-TV package or a subscription to Netflix, Hulu or another paid streaming service. Just about half of these consumers rely on both of these options, for the TV and movie content they watch. “Because they are heavier users of paid and free streaming overall and more open to purchasing and renting digital content, younger adults are generally more likely to explore alternatives to traditional cable or satellite service,” Chandler-Payatt said.

Looking ahead

With TV and movie watching time remaining relatively stable over the year, and with the number of available video-content services set to expand, competition for consumer attention is expected to primarily come from within the category. According to Chandler-Payatt, “Younger consumers may be more willing to adopt new offerings, but the amount that they can reasonably spend is finite, so services and formats must find strong unique selling propositions to attract and retain their engagement.”

“Evolution of Entertainment Study”
This study examines the entertainment habits of US consumers two years of age and older, to provide a comprehensive view of the entertainment ecosystem from both the category and consumer perspectives. For the purposes of this analysis, 5,000 respondents qualified as participants in an entertainment category, by reporting that they had personally participated in a relevant activity in the six months prior to the survey, which was conducted in June 2019.


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