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For the majority of television's existence, commercials have been unavoidable and necessary, serving as the best way for networks to make money on a 24-hour basis. But here in 2017, audiences no longer need to be tethered to such ads, thanks to companies like Netflix. In fact, a new report shows that in Netflix-only homes without forms of linear television, the average child is able to avoid a whopping 230 hours of commercials on an annual basis.
That's a pretty incredible total. On the one hand, it's probably not life-affirming to know that modern children are watching an average of 980 hours of TV a year, which comes out to a little over 2.5 hours a day. (Apparently some extremes put some kids watching around 9 hours a day, so just think about how much ad-time those kids are saving.) But on the other hand, at least those kids are being entertained for all that time, which is what Netflix is there for, right?
230 hours comes out to around nine full days, which is about how long it would take children to hard-binge a couple of youth-oriented Netflix originals like Trollhunters, The Magic School Bus Rides Again and the upcoming Trolls: The Beat Goes On. And I think most of us can agree that, at least in Ms. Frizzle's case, the kids are much better off learning about space and the phases of matter as opposed to whatever '80s pop culture trope Geico is using in its ads. I mean, one would hope that all 980 hours of Netflix viewing would be of the educational variety, but one would be crazy to assume such a thing.
According to Exstreamist, parents are also weighing out these stats in different ways. Few people readily want children to spend their days vegging out in front of a screen, but with Netflix, parents are afforded the trust that the programming is tailor-made for specific age groups and demographics, unlike what a child's experiences on YouTube would be. As well, moms and dads can set their youngins up to watch shows without having to later hear about toys, candies, cereals and other commercials that, like the streaming service, aim directly for young viewers.
Perhaps the most disturbing element in all of this is how high this number rose in comparison to just a year ago. In 2016, kids were only saving 150 commercial-free hours, because the average amount of TV time being reported was 1.8 hours a day. Given that all of these results are extrapolated from limited studies, it's hard to know if that increased average is indeed indicative of national trends, or if certain people involved this time around are just extremely into streaming things all day long. In any case, the point in clear: it might not be long before the Netflix generation fails to understand "Where's the beef?" and "Can you hear me now?" references.