I just finished watching all 2 seasons of Young Justice on Netflix over the course of a few days. That’s roughly 16.1 hours of television. In 2014, ratings measurement firm Nielsen reported that there is an average of 14 minutes of commercials per hour of television, meaning if I had watched the show on network television I would have to watch 3.73 hours of commercials, bumping my total to 19.83 hours. Last year, Exstreamist reported that Netflix saves adults from over 130 hours of commercials a year. An important distinction to make in all this is the word “adult”. I am not a kid, shows like Young Justice, Pokémon, and Voltron are catered towards a younger crowd, meaning kids endure an entirely different amount of commercials annually, just to watch their favorite shows. Exstreamist has reported that, on average, Netflix saves kids over 150 hours in commercials a year.
In 2015, kids between the age of 2 and 18 were reported to watch an average of 1.8 hours of TV through a streaming service a day. Teenagers spend about 3 hours a day watching TV, equaling 45 days a year. Even toddlers are consuming entertainment at a high volume, spending about 25 days a year watching TV through streaming sites. This includes sites like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube.
If kids were to watch TV on regular networks, that would add on an additional 150 hours worth of commercials. That’s over 6 days worth of commercials a year. Now, whether or not 45 days a year spent watching TV is bad, 6 days saved is a pretty significant number. Giving your kids extra time to do homework, go outside, or watch even more cartoons. On top of that, without a constant stream of advertisements for clothes, toys, and cavity inducing snacks and drinks, kids will probably be less inclined to beg for the new hot action figure or cereal endorsed by some anthropomorphic animal. They will probably still pester you for anything comic book or My Little Pony related.
If you think that 14 minutes worth of commercials an hour isn’t so bad, it’s only going to get worse. In 2009 broadcast networks averaged 13 minutes and 25 seconds of commercials per hour, that number increased to 14 minutes and 15 seconds by 2013. Cable is even worse, going from 14 minutes and 27 seconds to 15 minutes and 38 seconds per hour by 2015. On top of all that, television networks are speeding up shows by about 10%, just to fit in more advertisements. Which might explain why some of your favorite TV characters seem to have a higher voice when you’re watching reruns.