There is currently an ad running for DirecTV (satellite television) that opens with a scene of a dimly lit city being ravaged by criminals. A bomb lights up the sky, a bank is robbed, a getaway car screeches around a corner and a Molotov cocktail is thrown into a police car. The camera cuts to a Batman-style phone ringing off the hook. Brrrinng Brrinng Brrinng. The camera slowly pans to a fully dressed super hero sitting on the couch with his feet up, watching television.

What message is this ad trying to send?

I pay particularly close attention to this ad whenever it comes on, because (after moving to my new apartment) I’m actually in the market for a cable or satellite provider. Ironically, this ad makes me want to get rid of my television all together.

How much time do you think we spend watching TV? According to Nielsen, the average person spends around 4 hours per day watching television. That’s equal to 2 months per year and, in aggregate, by age 65 the average person will have spent 9 full non-stop years watching television. (

Think of all the things you could do with 2 extra months per year! It’s mind boggling. Watching TV is the biggest brain drain of our generation.

Thinking about this issue globally, TV could actually be a threat to the US Economy on the world stage. Do you think the average person in India or China is watching 4 hours of TV each day?

The moral is simple: throw your TV out the window and go save the world.

Brain Drain
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  • Dadio

    Not so fast, Drew. If one were to factor your number by the need for information plus the entertainment value of television, it would be a different result. One more issue, if I throw away my television my peer group may look at me differently. How many of us are comfortable being a contrarian (sp)?

    I agree that the mere presence of a television provides an easy way to kill empty hours as opposed to thinking of a productive activity. In your personal situation this post makes sense. Your iphone provides for almost all the needs listed above. Some people still have fax machines and copiers or land lines. Some people couldn’t imagine a life without paper, others are paperless now.

    Automobiles? Airplanes vs teleconferencing. Our society is in transition, for sure, but I don’t see any of the relics disappearing.Rather a broader spectrum of choices and change in percentage of acceptance may result.

  • Andrew

    Good points Dad, perhaps the point I should have made is “All things in moderation”

  • Your moral is fantastic! It could probably get more reach with a 30 second TV spot or a reality TV show. :)