Americans watching more television than ever

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During the 2008-2009 season, American viewers spent an average of four hours and 49 minutes daily in front of their TVs, according to a study from the Nielsen Institute published November 10.

Americans have never watched so many hours of television since the first study of viewing time in the United States was conducted in 1991. Viewers spent four more minutes per day in front of their sets than they did last year. In comparison to the 1991-1992 season, Americans devoted 43 more minutes every day to watching television.

In 60 years, the amount of time allocated to television watching has practically doubled. According to Nielsen, every American household spent an average of eight hours and 21 minutes in front of their screens on a daily basis, compared to only four hours and 35 minutes in 1949.

However, the study discovered a plateau in the level of prime time viewing. Viewers spent one hour and 12 minutes of the early evening watching TV, the same amount as the year before and as in 1991. Even as a household total, this figure is in decline at one hour 52 minutes compared to one hour and 53 minutes during the 2007-2008 season.