ESPN: Men Are Watching

Where have all the young men gone?” was a question that was burning up the broadcast networks earlier this year, as the 18-to-34 set seemed to forsake 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.

In an analysis of data from Nielsen Media Research, ESPN said men 18 to 34 have upped their daily TV viewing by 18 minutes compared with five years ago. While 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 the late fringe and overnight time periods. The data showed that young-adult males watched four minutes more per day from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. (35 minutes in 2003 versus 31 minutes in 1998) and six more minutes from 2 a.m. to 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 minutes 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 statement.