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Italians Watch More TV Than Viewers in Any Other Country (Aside From U.S.)

An Italian research organization attributed the rise in average television viewership to the economic crisis and a desire for low-cost forms of entertainment.

ROME – Italians are spending more time than ever in front of their television sets, due at least in part to the economic crisis. But they still have a way to go to catch the average American.

Eurispes, the Italy-based research institute, said the average Italian spent four more minutes in front of the television each day in 2013 compared to the previous year. That adds up to an average of four hours and 34 minutes a day.

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That is the second-highest rate in the world, Eurispes said, though still a far cry from matching the average of 4 hours 53 minutes Americans dedicate to the small screen.

Eurispes said the economic crisis was at least partially responsible for the increased viewership, with many people seeking lower-cost forms of entertainment. The institute also said much of the growth was coming from smaller and more specialized channels, with traditional free-to-air broadcasters in Italy losing overall market share and specialized and satellite channels picking up the slack.

Twitter: @EricjLyman