You, Average American Viewer, Have 189 TV Channels. Here’s How Many You Actually Watch.

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 6 2014 5:16 PM

You, Average American Viewer, Have 189 TV Channels. Here’s How Many You Actually Watch.

460965977-sharp-senior-vice-president-of-marketing-jim-sanduski
More choices isn't always better when it comes to TV channels.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Everything is bigger in America: houses, cars, serving sizes, people. The nation of big appetites also craves more when it comes to our TV choices. The number of TV channels beamed into American homes has been on the rise for years and, in 2013, the average TV watching family had access to a whopping 189 channels, up from 129 five years earlier.

With a veritable buffet of TV on offer, how many of those channels do you, average American viewer, actually watch? 17. That's the same as when we had far fewer options, according to a new report from Nielsen.

Advertisement

Here’s what Nielsen deduced from the numbers.

This data is significant in that it substantiates the notion that more content does not necessarily equate to more channel consumption. And that means quality is imperative—for both content creators and advertisers. So the best way to reach consumers in a world with myriad options is to be the best option.

That seems pretty self-evident. But, the bigger question is: Who watches TV on their TV anymore? Or, to put it even more plainly, here’s a preview of what kids will be asking parents in the not too distant future: “Dad, what’s a TV channel?”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.