Recent statistics suggest the rising popularity of connected television (CTV) in the United States has come amid falling consumption of traditional television. CTV refers to conventional television sets that are integrated with internet features that allow viewers to access digital content.

Advertising revenues on these two platforms say it all—while CTV ad spend is expected to rise every year from 2021 to 2027, it’s nearly the contrary for traditional TV ad spend, which is projected to decrease by 13.4% over the same period.

Does TV viewership data align with this trend? To find out, we need to dive into the question: How much TV does the average American watch per day?

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How many hours of TV does the average American watch: 2024

According to the latest statistics on time spent watching television, the average US adult is forecast to spend 168 minutes a day (or two hours and 48 minutes) viewing traditional television programs. This excludes online videos and refers to live programs, shows played on digital video recorders, and other pre-recorded videos.

The expected average time spent watching TV in 2024 marks a seven-minute decrease from 2023’s numbers and the second successive year time spent watching traditional TV is set to fall below three hours a day.

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How many hours of TV does the average American watch: 2019–2023

In fact, the numbers show that the average hours spent watching traditional television every day largely have fallen since 2019. That year, viewers spent 207 minutes, or three hours and 27 minutes, watching traditional TV. This rose by six minutes, to 213 minutes (three hours and 33 minutes) in 2020, the highest daily traditional television consumption expected between 2019 and 2024. 

Since then, traditional TV viewership has fallen every year. In 2021, the average time spent watching television fell by as many as 17 minutes from the previous year, to 196 minutes (three hours and 16 minutes), before decreasing further by seven minutes in 2022, to 189 minutes a day. In 2023, the average time spent watching TV dipped by 14 minutes, to 175 minutes, falling below the three-hour mark for the first time in at least five years. 

Time spent watching television: CTV vs. traditional TV

From 2019 to 2024, daily time spent watching traditional television is projected to plummet by 39 minutes. In contrast, Americans are spending increasingly more time on CTV. In 2019, they spent 59 minutes a day viewing CTV. By 2024, this is set to grow to 123 minutes (two hours and three minutes), marking an overall rise of 64 minutes.

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