Television remains a dominant medium, commanding over 90% of total video viewing in the United States. Even those aged 18-24 spend over 80% of their video viewing time on television, according to Nielsen data. The real difference is a matter of black and white.
The Video Advertising Bureau points out that 284 million people watched television in America over a month in the second quarter of 2015, for an average of 138 hours and 50 minutes.
In comparison, viewing video on a computer accounted for 12 hours 36 minutes a month, with smartphones adding another 2 hours 4 minutes, together constituting 9% of all viewing across all individuals over 2 years old.
Among those aged 18-34, over 80% of total video viewing is on television, while for those aged 2-11 or 12-17 it is over 90%.
The figures are based on the Nielsen Total Audience Report for the second quarter of 2015.
This shows that viewing of live television across the total population of the United States has on average fallen from 4 hours 19 minutes a day in the second quarter of 2014 to 4 hours 11 minutes a day in the same quarter of 2015.
While demographic differences among various age groups are well known, it is striking how much viewing varies by ethnicity in America.
Live and timeshifted television makes up the vast majority of viewing across all ethnic groups, compared to video on a computer or smartphone, viewing of discs, games consoles or other multimedia devices like media streamers.
Asian Americans generally watch less traditional television but view more than twice the national average on multimedia devices. Even then, at 2 hours 13 minutes a week, it only constitutes a minority of their total video viewing.
These variations are not generally discussed, although they are implicitly recognised in the tables by which Nielsen breaks out the data.
Among television viewers in the general population aged over 2 years old, average viewing of live or time-shifted television averaged 4 hours and 34 minutes a day.
Blacks, as termed and defined by Nielsen, watched for 6 hours 31 minutes a day. That rises to 10 hours and 23 minutes a day for those aged over 65. That is an average, so some may view for even longer.
In comparison, Hispanics watched for 3 hours 42 minutes a day, which is closer to the national average. Asians watched for an hour less a day, which is significantly less than the national average.
Even among 18-24 year-olds, blacks watched an average of 4 hours 47 minutes a day, compared to 2 hours 29 minutes for Hispanics or 1 hour 39 for Asians in that age group.
So when people talk about changing patterns of viewing they tend to reflect the experiences of people with which they identify.
What is clear is that many people are still watching an extraordinary amount of traditional television. That is particularly true of demographic groups that have higher proportions of those that are less affluent.
A black pensioner in America could be watching television for over 10 hours a day, every day. That puts so-called “binge” viewing into perspective. Orange is not necessarily the new black.
The Total Audience Report Q2 2015 is available from the Nielsen web site. Multi-screen Insights is available from the Video Advertising Bureau web site.