Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Boob tube spendthrift?

Check out this interesting article (the correct title should be 'How to earn 1 million by giving up your telly'). It talks about the cost of having a telly. It mixes in gaming and film viewing with actual TV viewing and so the title is misleading, though.

Anyway, it's pretty eye opening. There's this stunning fact about commercials and how well they work: Economist Juliet Schor estimated that for every hour of TV a person watches each week, he or she will increase his or her annual spending by about $200. (emphasis mine)

And coupled with this, which left me speechless: Nielsen Media Research reported that the average person watched approximately 4.5 hours of TV a day, or 31.5 hours a week, they concluded that the average person spends an extra $6300 per year under the influence of telly, a suggestion that most telly-viewing-diehards would angrily deny, I'll bet.

Four and a half hours a DAY?! 31 hours a week? That's almost equal to full time employment! Who has time to waste like that? Am I just insanely busy? Or is it that I'd rather read a book - or read a book to my children - than sit gape-mawed in front of the idiot box for the six minutes a day I have free?

And I do watch films. Y'all know I'm a movie fanatic. I have a DVD collection that would make Netflix moist-eyed with pride, but we manage, maximum, an hour (on a good day) after supper*. Often we don't watch any at all. I don't think I've ever in my life sat in front of a television for over four hours in a day.

I personally don't watch TV because I find it dull and annoying. Obviously not all of it is. There are a few shows that I loved (Star Trek et al, X-files, and Firefly spring to mind) but I HATE commercials and I hated the demanding nature of telly; you had to be home to watch a certain show on a certain day at a certain time (yes, I know there's TiVo now, LOL, but I hear folks lamenting that they have to rush and watch something they TiVo'd so they can TiVo something else).

I also stand by my opinion that the lion's share of telly is just plain crap. The entertainment equivalent of celery: something for your brain to chew that has no nutritional value and not much taste. The yap, yap, yap of those awful talk shows and the 'news', tinned laugh-tracks, commercials, ugh!

Do you watch telly? Why do you watch? Do you feel that you watch too much? Do you let your kids watch it? What about films? Or games? Were you startled at the amount of money the article claimed was spent?

*Please bear in mind that the 'we' here is me and EGH. The Brood get to watch a film (like a Pixar animated film) or a documentary (we can Netflix us some David Attenborough!) about twice a week.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 11:31 am   6 comments


At 3:12 pm, Blogger Kizz said...

I'm addicted to TV, I'll totally admit it. I love it. As an actor and a writer I love it as research as well as escape but my viewing far outstrips the level of research. Increasing my annual spending by $200? Sure! I thought you were actually going to talk about the physical costs of it, electricity, cable, DVR, DVD player, VCR etc. Those costs make me sick to my stomach and yet I still pay them. I love the advent of Netflix and the DVR because it means I almost never watch a commerical now. Even if I'm watching something "live" I will pause the show and go do something else for 10 minutes or so to have a cushion large enough to fast forward past the commercials. On the other hand I know enough to know that doesn't mean I'm missing the marketing. There are ads scrolling under my picture and there's product placement everywhere. I don't have kids. The games I play are more like computer solitaire, video poker, puzzle games, that sort of thing. I am a little startled by the $6300 pricepoint. I don't see how any of us has that much money to spend but I guess if it's the law of averages it makes sense.

Does that answer all the questions?

At 9:16 pm, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:18 pm, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

I have TiVo, too, and I do JUST what Kizz does - I give myself a cushion if I'm watching "live" t.v. so I can scroll past the commercials.

I don't have time, lately, to watch t.v. My consumption goes WAY down in the summer (though Mr. Chili watches more t.v. in the summer - what with all the Red Sox games and all). We tend to watch crime drama (or just plain drama) on television; my TiVo list includes Medium, CSI (the original), Law and Order, and Heroes (which, Blue, I bet you'd love). We also watch cooking shows a lot.

My kids don't watch a lot of t.v., either, much to their disappointment. I've started TiVoing old eps of The Munsters off of TVLand for them - I have a whole lot less trouble letting them watch the shows I grew up with than the crap on now. They also get to watch the food channel with relative impunity; they know how to skip commercials and, really, all the FoodTV commercials are for other FoodTV shows, so it's not all that offensive to me. Even then, though, they only get about a half hour or so as downtime.

They DON"T watch American Idol or any of the mind-numbing 'tween shows on Disney, or any of those incredibly awful cartoons (Spongebob or the like). Gah.

At 12:40 am, Anonymous Heather said...

I love tv... that is, I love it when there are good shows to watch. I don't watch the new reality shows. The closest I come to that is Little People, Big World. I too have tivo and will never watch commercials again. When I am home alone (which almost NEVER happens), I tend to have the tv on for background noise.

My kids do watch tv, but they don't watch commercials. I don't need the begging that comes with watching commercials. They are restricted as to how much and what they are allowed to watch. If their behaviour has been up to par and their schoolwork is done (homeschool), they are allowed to watch a show or movie that is not educational. If they have behaved decently but had an issue here and there, they are only allowed educational programs. They love the Magic School Bus shows and we all like watching Cash Cab. I really like the Leap Frog reading series DVDs. Other than movies and the occasional episode of Rescue Rangers, if they do watch tv, it is shows they can learn from.

At 8:48 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like television, but I really don't have time to watch it. The only "time" I have is at night before I go to bed. Usually, I watch CSI or something on HGTV so I can get some decorating/gardening ideas. My husband does not watch it at all. He would rather not have a television in the house.
As for my children, they can watch one hour a day, and it is usually PBS oriented such as Arthur or Clifford the Big Red Dog. Sometimes we watch Americas Funniest Videos after dinner. Good clean fun!!

Thinking back, I went to school with a guy who had no television. His family read, read, read. This guy was so smart, he was the valedictorian of my class. His parents were extrememly smart. Hummm...wonder what that tells us????

At 11:32 pm, Anonymous AeroDog said...

Yes. I watch tv. As I read magazines or newspapers I have Discovery Channel, History Channel, or BBC on in the background. Sometimes I watch movies on HBO. Sometimes I have the French Channel on while I do other things just so my subconcious can absorb a bit of it. Not all tv rots the brain.


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