Half of American TV viewers watch 10 or more hours of TV during the week

Baby Boomers watch 10 or more hours weekly over 3x more often than Gen Zers

The author(s)

  • Jennifer Berg Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Talia Wiseman Senior Research Analyst
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Washington, DC, July 28, 2021 -  A new Ipsos poll finds that, among TV viewers, about half say they watch 10 or more hours of TV per week, and over two in five say they have binge-watched TV in the past three months. Over half of Americans use streaming services to watch TV, while a little over a third use cable. Among the generations, Baby Boomers watch the most TV weekly. Baby Boomers were also the happiest generation, with over ninety percent reporting they feel happy at least once per week.


Detailed Findings

1. Among the generations, Baby Boomers watch the most TV weekly.

  • Among all Americans who watch television, 2 in 5 (39%) report watching more than 10 hours weekly, while another 9% report watching 10 hours
  • 59% of Baby Boomers watch more than 10 hours a week, compared to only 1 in 6 Gen Z (17%) and a quarter of Millennials (26%).

2. Over half of Americans use streaming services to watch TV, while a third use Cable TV.

  • 54% of Americans use streaming services on a TV and one third of Americans (36%) using streaming services on a personal device, such as a phone or laptop.
  • Streaming service use on a personal device is highest among Gen Z and Millennials (52% and 46%), compared to only 21% of Baby Boomers.
  • 1 in 5 Millennials (19%) and a quarter of Gen Z (25%) use cable TV, compared to nearly half of all Baby Boomers (49%).  

3. About 2 in 5 Americans say they have binge-watched over 2 hours of TV in one sitting in the past three months.

  • Binge-watching habits were similar across the generations. About 2 in 5 of Gen Z (44%), Gen X (42%), and Baby Boomers (46%), have binge-watched TV, while a slightly larger share of Millennials have done so (52%).
  • About three in ten Americans report sharing a streaming serving account with someone else (29%). Gen Z and Millennials are the most likely to share a streaming service account (42% and 40%).

4. Baby Boomers are the happiest among the generations.

  • Nearly all Baby Boomers report feeling happy at least once per week during the past month (94%).  89% of Gen Z and 87% of Millennials reported the same.
  • At least once a week during the past month, 3 in 5 Americans report feeling like they belonged to a social group or community (58%) and 67% feel they had something important to contribute to society.

About the Study

This Ipsos poll was conducted July 23 – 25, 2021, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,022 general population adults age 18 or older. The sample includes 102 Gen Zers, 214 Millennials, 261 Gen Xers, and 445 Baby Boomers. Generation Z includes ages 18-25, Millennials include ages 26-39, Generation X includes ages 40-55, and Baby Boomers include ages older than 55.

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.22. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on other sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, race/ethnicity by gender, race/ethnicity by age, and race/ethnicity by education. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) except for the metropolitan status, which is not available from the 1-year ACS data, were obtained from the 2020 March Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS).

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–25, 26–39, 40-54 and 55+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian, Other)
  • Education (Less than High School, High School, Some College, Bachelor or higher)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) by Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian) by Gender (Male, Female)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian) by Age (18-44, 45+)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian) by Education (Some College or less, Bachelor and beyond)

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Senior Vice President, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

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The author(s)

  • Jennifer Berg Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Talia Wiseman Senior Research Analyst

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