Audiences are spending more time watching just about everything but traditional TV, report finds

This article was published on Feb. 15, 2023 in the "Marketing Brew"

Adults in the US are watching the equivalent of nine episodes of “Friends” in digital video each day.
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Surprising absolutely nobody, Americans are expected to watch more digital video—YouTube, TikTok, that terrible rom-com on Hulu—than linear television this year.

That’s according to a report released this week by Insider Intelligence that broke down how adults in the US are spending their precious free time.

The specific breakdown amounts to a daily intake of three hours and 11 minutes of digital video (streaming and social video)—so, enough time for about nine episodes of Friends—and just under three hours of traditional linear television. This year marks the first time that digital is projected to surpass linear in terms of time spent per day, according to its estimates.

TV watching Trends

And it’s a trend that’s projected to continue. In fact, except for a bump in 2020, traditional TV has declined every year since 2013. The report points to live sports as one reason why linear TV is seeing a decline, as platforms like Apple TV+ and YouTube have recently scooped up live-sports rights.

Cutting the digital pie

On the streaming front, Insider Intelligence expects that adults will spend most of their digital viewing time on either YouTube or Netflix in 2023, spending about 33 minutes on each platform on average each day. Hulu, with about 24 minutes, was just ahead of Amazon and Disney+, which had 11 and eight minutes, respectively.

On social, Facebook is in the lead, with adults expected to spend about 19 minutes on the platform daily this year. They’re expected to spend about 17 minutes per day on TikTok, which is projected to overtake Facebook next year when it comes to time spent per day.

Among actual adult users of each platform, the report said “TikTok has been well ahead of Facebook” since 2020. Adult TikTok users are expected to spend roughly 56 minutes on the app daily in 2023, compared to adult YouTube users, who are expected to watch48 minutes of content on that platform every day.

“Given teens’ preferences for social and streaming video over TV, we can expect these trends to continue to shift in favor of digital,” Paul Verna, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, wrote in the report.

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