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Teens not abandoning television for Internet, study finds

This news story was published on March 12, 2012.
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By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES—Fear not television executives: Teenagers are not abandoning the tube for the Internet and cellphones.

In fact, teen television viewing is actually on the rise, according to a new report from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. senior analyst Todd Juenger that is optimistic about television at a time when many media watchers fear new platforms are going to severely cannibalize viewers and advertising dollars.

The typical teen watches almost four hours of television per day. While that is two hours less than most adults, it is up from about three hours in 2004, and teen viewing has been growing at a rate of 2.5 percent per year. While teens are watching content on their computers and phones, most of their viewing is still done via television. Juenger notes that while the perception is that young people are abandoning television, “everybody over-reports usage of Internet and mobile video and under-reports usage of traditional television.”

Although advertisers spend about $60 billion on television a year, there is concern that as consumers migrate to new media, the commercial dollars will follow. Juenger noted that, while newspapers have certainly taken a hit from the Internet both in terms of advertising and circulation, television viewing has not.

Furthermore, as people age they watch more TV. “So far teens are following historical patterns, and in fact their usage of traditional TV is increasing,” Juenger said.

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