Israelis watch 232 minutes of television a day, outranked only by the United States and Britain, with women over 65 in the Tel Aviv area glued to their screens more than any other TV viewer, according to the recently released annual report of the Israel Audience Research Board.
Israelis are mainly watching the reality shows broadcast on Channel 2, according to the report. Eight out of the 10 most watched shows last year were broadcast by the Channel 2 franchisee Keshet.
The figures show that Israelis set a record this year in time spent in front of the TV, more than any year since figures have been kept, and seven minutes longer than in 2010.
The fact that Israelis spend 60 percent of their time watching the broadcast channels - 1, 2, 9 (in Russian ), 10, 23 (Educational Television), 24 (music) and 33 - is atypical in terms of other countries.
"In the United States in 2010, only 37 percent of the market watched the broadcast channels," said Dr. Yifat Ben Hay-Segev, the director general of the Israel Audience Research Board.
The reason, Ben Hay-Segev said, is because in Israel the broadcast channels are the "tribal campfire." Although 80 percent of Israeli households subscribe to cable or satellite TV, "every evening at 8 P.M. they tune in to Israeli content," she said.
The data is based on a sample of 580 households, representing 2,100 individuals.
Particularly interesting is the fact that the commercial channels, especially 2 and 10, depend on income from advertisements, which are purchased according to ratings. Although ratings are unusually high compared to the rest of the world, the television market in Israel has yet to become profitable.
According to the report, the older a viewer is, the more time he or she spends watching TV, with senior citizens devoting 359 minutes a day to the small screen, almost three times as long as the 18-24 age group.
Women over 18 view more television than men of the same age - 284 minutes compared to 221 minutes a day respectively.
Jerusalemites watch less television, 204 minutes a day, than their counterparts in Haifa and the north who spend 225 minutes in front of the screen. Tel Aviv viewers outstrip them both with 285 minutes a day.
Figures in the south are closer to those in Jerusalem - 207 minutes a day.
The main attraction for viewers everywhere last year were reality shows, rated among the 10 most popular shows to watch. Other favorites were satire and news.
The Israeli version of "Big Brother" was the most frequently watched program, followed by "Music School," "Master Chef," and the comedy series "Ramzor."
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