Dear Santa Claus

Dec 18, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Just to make the season bright, please bring The Insider something nice so she won’t feel like such a super-freak couch potato.

In the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007, released Friday by the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation’s head-counters said people next year will spend an average of 3,815 hours (or five months) watching TV, listening to the radio and recorded music, browsing the Internet, reading newspapers and other media, and playing video games.

A Reuters wire story about the abstract further broke down this data. It said people will be watching 4 1 / 2 hours of TV a day, listening to 2 1 / 2 hours of radio and a half-hour of recorded music a day, and spending about a half-hour each per day on the Internet, reading newspapers and other media, and playing video games.

If we’re to believe Reuters’ breakdown, that’s more than nine hours a day spent largely not working or otherwise racking up disposable (or not) income.

But only 4 1 / 2 hours a day of TV?

The Insider watches way more than that on the average weeknight, forget the average day, which starts with early, early morning news and lasts through two or more late-night shows. She gets a lot of help from her DVR, of course (there’s seldom an hour when two programs are not being recorded), but The Insider also burns the midnight TV oil to be able to competently discuss the previous night’s television on the morning after.

That’s why The Insider so fervently believes Live Plus Same Day is the most important TV viewing metric.

Since it was unclear where the TV viewing statistics came from, The Insider called the public information officer listed on the release about the abstract. He said The Insider would have to speak to the man in the Statistical Compendia Department who oversaw the publication of the abstract. But lo, that man said he didn’t oversee that particular set of stats and the person to call was a gentleman at Veronis Suhler Stevenson, the merchant bank and private equity fund. The Insider is still waiting for that call to be returned, but she learned that the Veronis, etc., source was Nielsen Media Research.

Ah, but the TV viewing average-actually four hours and thirty-five minutes per day-came from the 2005-06 season as measured by Nielsen. That doesn’t exactly sound like a projection, not even to the notoriously math-challenged Insider.

So, dear Santa, lumps of coal for the stat stooges.

And something flat and no larger than 42 inches for The Insider’s living-room wall, if you please, because she has a reputation to maintain and not much space in which to maintain it.

Hope you like the imaginary hot chocolate and cookies.

Your pal,

The Insider

P.S.: You can call me The.

P.P.S.: The Insider has moved since the last time you visited. She’s in Spanish Harlem and up two flights of stairs instead of up 14 floors in the elevator. And if she can make it with three bags of groceries, a box of super-clumping kitty litter or a full laundry bag, you can make it with one of those skinny-mini HDelicious appliances.