Here are the highlights of some research to add some discussion to the cable canceling experiment.
I found a great website called Trash Your TV. It is your one stop shopping experience for anyone thinking of canceling cable or getting rid of their TV. TV viewing stats, success stories, effects of TV articles, and much more.
Let’s start with some eye opening stats about the about some real costs of watching TV:
- Nielsen Media Research Inc. reports that the ‘average person’ watches TV for 4 hours and 35 minutes every day. Furthermore, the average household has a TV playing for 8 hours 14 minutes every day.
- That 5 1/2 days a month watching TV, 69 days a year, and about 13 or so years for an average life span. Even if I watch half that amount in a week, WOW!
- Exposing children to all that TV can affect the wallet by the Nag Factor. Marketers seek to brand your children and make them discontented. All that TV time could result in viewing as much as 30,000 commercials a year, which in turn influenced an estimated $300 billion in sales or $4,000 per pestering child a year in 2001.
- Number of hours of TV watched yearly by Americans: ~250 billion
- Assuming an average US wage of $7/hour that equates to S1.75 trillion dollars
- Average US cable bill in 2005 was $43.04. $783 for the primary TV in their home, and $176 on accessories. $22 billion total on TVs in 2006. Source
- A multitude of studies that link TV watching to obesity and weight gain. Cut out some TV and lose weight.
- Television viewing has been linked to ADHD.
- The American parent spends 38 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.
- Children view on average 16,000 television murders before age 18.
These facts don’t even include other factors like opportunity cost, decreased energy, decreased brain activity, and peer pressure. Some of those time and money statistics are staggering.
One thing I found interesting was a recent study found that it would take $1,000,000 for white people to not watch TV for the rest of their lives. Second, although I am not sure I can vouch for the reality of his numbers, he argues that if you ditch the TV at age 25 and “instead invested this money and received a return of 8% compounded annually over 45 years until you’re 70 years old, you would have more than $3.7 million in your account.”
I think that little fact sheet may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the drawbacks of cable and TV. Sure those numbers look a little high, but even if they are half or a quarter that much, isn’t that a lot? I’m not saying that there aren’t any benefits, but I am becoming hard pressed to find them at this point in my life. The more I think about it, the truth is I really don’t want to look back in 20 years and realize how much TV and cable really cost me. How much is it costing you?