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Americans stare at screens for more than 10 hours a day

The new survey shows media consumption per day has increased by about one hour per day over the same period in 2015.

By Stephen Feller
Americans stare at screens for more than 10 hours a day
Although smartphones and tablets saw the biggest increase in time spent consuming media, television and radio remain the most used by Americans, according to a new Nielsen survey. Photo by wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- The amount of time Americans spend interacting with media such as television, radio and internet-connected devices has grown significantly over the last year, according to a new survey.

Americans spend 10 hours and 39 minutes per day interacting with screens, or at least listening to the radio, according to a Nielsen survey covering the first quarter of 2016.

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The report shows both television and radio remain the major methods people consume media, though smartphone and tablet use has grown significantly, too.

Nielson's report also, for the first time, breaks down viewing habits to include DVR penetration and video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime, both of which reach about 50 percent of the country, according to a letter from Glenn Enoch, senior vice president for audience insights at Nielsen, included with the report.

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The share of live television viewership increases with age, while the share of digital and TV-connected devices is highest among younger adults, researchers found, while people between the ages of 18 and 34 and people between the ages of 35 and 49 have about the same share of media usage switching from digital to traditional.

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Although DVR and subscription video on demand services are available to about half the adults in the country, they are far from the most widely available. Researchers found 94 percent of all adults have a television, 81 percent have a smartphone, 77 percent have a DVD player and 58 percent have a tablet.

The 10 hours and 39 minutes per day spent with media is an increase of one hour over the same period in 2015, with the biggest increases in consumption coming either through an internet-connected computer, a smartphone or through apps or the web on a tablet.

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"The overall results don't surprise me," Steve Gortmaker, a professor of health sociology at Harvard University who was not involved in the report, told CNN. "The number of devices we have proliferate the overall time spent with screens, and the number of devices is increasing. A lot of people have been thinking about how or whether this time spent is a good use of their time, which becomes a deep issue."

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