Eighteen years ago, on November 21, 1996, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed November 21 as World Television Day.
This was "in recognition of the increasing impact television has on decision-making by bringing world attention to conflicts and threats to peace and security and its potential role in sharpening the focus on other major issues, including economic and social issues". So what better day to dispel the myth of television as an endangered species?!
Sure, people do spend a lot of time using smartphones, tablets and other devices. They might even spend more time with these devices than they do watching TV, but that doesn't mean people no longer watch TV. According to the latest edition of the American Time Use Survey, an annual study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average American spent 2 hours and 48 minutes watching television each day in 2013. That is not only more than half of Americans' total leisure time, but also more than it was ten years ago: in 2003 the average daily TV dosage was 2 hours and 34 minutes.
It is certainly true that the way people watch television is changing, and linear television as we know it may not be around forever, but for now television remains alive and well. To paraphrase from the great Mark Twain: the reports of TV's death are greatly exaggerated.
This chart shows how Americans spent their free time in 2013.
You will find more statistics at Statista