We now spend 1.3 years of our lives choosing what to watch

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Tom Fordy

How much of your life do you waste in front of the TV? Well, it might not be as much time as you waste just choosing what to watch, according to a new study.

The Ericsson Consumer Lab’s annual study into TV viewing habits has found that the increasing abundance of choice through streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime means we’re spending 45 per cent more time browsing our choices than we did in 2012.

That means the average viewer spends an incredible 1.3 years rifling through streaming service option, TV guides, or even just flicking through the channels. It’s no surprise with literally thousands of shows and movies available for your peepers at the click of a button.

It marks a significant change not just in what we watch on TV, but how we watch it.

“The time-consuming discovery process can be frustrating,” says the report. “Yet it is acceptable because Vod enables consumers to find content they want to watch, when they want to watch it.”

The study, the biggest of its kind, covering 1.1billion viewers worldwide, also found a huge rise in time spent watching TV on mobile devices, up by 200 hours since 2012 – an increase of 85 per cent.

The art of binge watching continues also – 37 per cent of viewers watch more than one episode (or more) in a row on a weekly basis (and to be fair, if you haven’t boshed a whole series of Breaking Bad in one day, you’re just not doing it right).

The humble, old school television set has taken a bit of a battering though, as viewing fixed screens is down by 12 per cent. That could be set to decrease further too, as 16-34 year-olds watch 2.5 more hours on streaming sites like YouTube than older viewers.

So turn off the TV and get with the programme, granddad. It's all about watching on the mobile these days. If you can decide what the bleedin' hell to watch that is.


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Tom Fordy

Tom Fordy is a London-based writer. He is former men's magazine editor and is now works as a lifestyle and entertainment journalist and opinionated beard for hire. His interests include the great literary works of the 20th century, New Wave European cinema and the career of Hulk Hogan. Follow Tom on Twitter: @TheTomFordy

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