I watch a lot of media. I say media, because television involves commercials and I don’t see commercials. I stream or download all my television shows and I use various ad blocking schemes to eliminate marketing even on sites like YouTube. The same goes for movies. That means that a television episode for me is either 24 or 47 minutes, with a few exceptions.
The closest I get to seeing a commercial, is watching one that went viral, online. Even then, it’s usually a foreign commercial, selling some product for which I have no use or need. So, it’s marketing value is lost on me.
I do however, buy a lot of DVDs and Blu-Rays. I subscribe to digital cable, Netflix and frequent the theatre, regularly. We use Scene points, so that we save a tonne of money on tickets and concessions. The media industry acquires far too much of my income. What can I say? I’m a product of my generation.
A quick view of the media section of my website will attest to this, especially the current shows page. Additionally, my wife and I watch a couple movies per week. So yes, we watch too much. I have no allusions about the imbalance in my life.
I don’t game a lot. I have a large selection of games and a few gaming systems, but I don’t spend inordinate amounts of time using them. I will binge for a month or so, then forget about the console for six months or more. My rather substantial gaming PC though, is pretty much a massive media centre. That’s its primary purpose.
I do go to the gym and go for walks, though. I spend a lot of time online, reading and even learning. We spend lots of time outside, in nice weather. I’m sure we could do more, but we’re certainly not lethargic couch potatoes. We simply like to fill every waking moment with something, whether it’s physical activity, entertainment, education or even edutainment. We’re never bored.
Take a look at my current shows page, if you haven’t already. That looks pretty intimidating, doesn’t it? First of all, I never watch reruns. Every show I watch is fresh and in sequence and without commercials. Compare that to your own viewing habits. Can you say the same?
Secondly, I read all of my news online, throughout my day, whether at work, as an IT specialist, it’s also part of my job, or as part of my leisure. I never read newspapers or watch the news. Compared to our parents’ generation, that’s probably one hour less per day spent on that activity, maybe more.
A lot of the shows I watch are only half hour episodes and of course, they run during different times of the year. The total actually comes to 520 hours per year. That’s a nice round number that works out to 10 hours per week. Add two movies per week, for an extra four hours and the average is fourteen. That’s two hours per day. Of course, that calculation didn’t take into account the fact that without commercials, that two hours per week is actually closer to 95 minutes and most movies are actually 90 minutes long. So, my adjusted average is closer to 11 hours. Guess what the average is for most North American households?
Americans watch an average of 34 hours per week. Canadians watch a significantly lower number by comparison at 30, commercials and all. That’s over four hours per week, either way. By comparison then, I likely watch a lot more shows than most people, but spend less time doing it, see fewer commercials and no reruns. I’ve always loved the phrase “work smarter, not harder.” Apparently, I play smarter, as well.
What’s my point? Organize your entertainment. Take an account of what you watch and how often. Conduct a personal audit and see where you can improve it. If you want to bring your viewing habits into balance, make a schedule and stick to it. Download or stream what you can, avoid reruns and find a balance. You can still indulge in plenty of media, but have time for more important things, like physical activity and family time.