TV isn’t Dead, but Growing

Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes claims, “TV is not only not dead, but it’s one of the fastest growing businesses. Ratings, time spent and viewership are all up.”

Two weekends ago I taught my Connect Workshop to a group of youth leaders from West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In that workshop I started with a youth culture quiz. Two weeks prior I started my parent seminar with the same quiz. In both those groups… they almost all missed this question:

What activity is more popular with teenagers age 12-17?

A. Watching TV

B. Internet Use

Everyone always guesses B.

The answer is A… by a landslide.

The results are clear across the board- all agree that TV dominates the media time of young people (and adults too, actually). Kaiser reports that 8-18 year olds average 4 hours and 29 minutes of television programming each and every day (an increase of 40 minutes per day since the last report 5 years ago). And Nielson reports about 3 hours and 46 minutes daily on traditional TV alone (not internet TV, mobile TV, no DVRs, etc.). for 12-17-year-olds.

Time-Warner’s Jeff Bewkes says “Digital is good for TV,” in this report from Nielson this week, contrary to conjecture that internet or mobile devices are slowly replacing TV.

The sad fact is… TV content is just getting worse and worse. As I shared last week in my article about the sexually charged MTV Movie Awards, MTV has put themselves in a bind. Each year they try to trump the previous year, and the easiest way to do that is to push the limits even further. It’s difficult to even imagine the show 10 years from today.”

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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One Response to TV isn’t Dead, but Growing

  1. Adam Lehman says:


    I would have never guessed this, but the more I talk to students (and get sucked into the online & mobile tech vortex…) the more i realize that they’re not into that yet.

    And remembering back, neither was I. I didn’t use email heavily until college.