ESPN: Men 18-34 Watching More, Not Less

“Where have all the young men gone?” was a question that was burning up the broadcast networks earlier this year as the 18-34 set seemed to be forsaking the medium in favor of video games, DVDs and other activities.

Well, according to ESPN Research, young males are actually watching more TV today than they did five years ago.

Analyzing Nielsen Media Research data, ESPN said men 18-34 have upped their TV viewing by 18 minutes compared with five years ago. Whereas members of that group screened a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes of tube per day back in 1998, that average expanded to 3 hours and 33 minutes last year.

Most of the increase came in late-fringe and overnight time periods. The data showed that young-adult males watched four minutes more per day from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. (35 minutes in 2003 versus 31 minutes in 1998) and six more minutes from 2 a.m.-6 a.m. (20 minutes a year ago compared to 14 five years earlier).

Viewing increased in all other dayparts except primetime, when the average minutes declined by one to 52 last year.

“Despite headlines that claim that men 18-34 are disappearing from the television audience, they watched three hours and 33 minutes per day in 2003, the highest amount in the past 12 years," ESPN vice president of audience research Glenn Enoch said in a prepared statement.

“These men are spending more time with video games and are primary users of the Internet, but these activities are not cutting into their television viewing,” he added. “However, due to greater program choice and an increase in the number of sets in the average household -- which has increased individual choice of programs and time of viewing -- men 18-34 are changing the pattern of their viewing, watching slightly less in primetime but much more in late-fringe and morning dayparts.”