Every time I hear statistics about how much Americans watch television, I grow vaguely ill, and I get paid to write about television. Over five hours. Per day. On average.
That’s getting home from work, flipping the television on at six, watching the news, the hour gameshow block, and all three hours of primetime, before nodding off a few minutes into the late news. And since it’s a seven day per week phenomenon, that’s pushing 35 hours of the tube, almost a full time job right there.
One thing we need to remember though is that averages are terrible liars. Ask anyone who’s drowned in a lake with an average depth of eighteen inches just how accurate that most misleading of statistics can be. On second thought, don’t ask them, because I don’t want to encourage the acquisition of fresh drowned corpses among a population. Sure, only one or two of you might go create said drowning victim, but that would still mean that on average our readership murdered more than zero people.
So I choose to believe that the outliers are driving this. That there is a small population of people watching 18 hours of television every single day, driving up the average numbers for the normal folks who watch an hour or so before retiring to sip scotch and read classic literature, like civilized folks.
And then I remember that for a third of the year I watch 15 hours of football each week, and my models just go to hell in a hurry. So let’s talk about Netflix, that balm to the cultured consumer of content.
A new report was just released showing that Netflix users stream an average of 93 minutes per day. To be fair, since there are no commercials in that lovely world, that’s the equivalent of nearly 2 hours and fifteen minutes of actual television. Absent any other released data, we can only read between the lines:
1. Netflix users clearly don’t watch any of that dreck on the airwaves, and so obviously watch less than half the television as television watchers.
2. Since it is accepted fact that watching television destroys your brain, Netflix users have approximately twice the brains of non-Netflix users. That’s just math.
3. Because Netflix is really only reliably available in the United States, while we export our idiot television to the entire rest of the world via syndication deals, that means that Netflix users are on average more intelligent than everyone else in the world outside of America.
5. Global domination.