Television

Nick celebrates 'Worldwide Day of Play' on 30 Sept; analyses American leisure habits

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MUMBAI: As Nickelodeon celebrates Worldwide Day of Play by "going dark" on air 30 September to encourage kids to get up, go out and go play, Leisure Trends Group takes a look at recent trends in America's leisure habits.

Sponsored by Nickelodeon and its partners, Worldwide Day of Play is the highlight of its Let's Just Play Go Healthy Challenge that has evolved into a health and wellness movement. Leisure Trends, the market research company has conducted an ongoing US survey to examine the changing landscape of Americans at play and publishes results in its quarterly LeisureTRAK.

Leisure Trends data confirms Worldwide Day of Play is well timed to encourage continued activity when most households are burrowing in for winter. On average, as Americans move from summer into fall, they lose 20 minutes of leisure time per day, according to Leisure Trends Research director Laurel Hyslop, PhD. Americans lose an additional 10 minutes of leisure time once winter rolls around, she added.

As time outdoors declines, TV becomes a bigger lure. Americans begin spending 13 more minutes on average a day watching television in September as compared to summer months. In fact, when asked what leisure activities they participated in the previous day, an analysis indicate outdoor sports decline 28 per cent from summer to fall and decline 40 per cent from fall to winter.

In addition to seasonal changes in leisure habits, Leisure Trends has identified differences in leisure motivations and activities Americans pursue, with the tragedy of 9/11 marking a pivotal shift in priorities. Spending time with family and friends has always been a high priority, but since 9/11 it has become the top priority - moving ahead of the two traditional top choices, reading and TV. Family and friends matter, and Americans are finding time for them. This trend cuts across all ages and includes both sexes. As a favourite activity, socializing has risen from 23 per cent of Americans prior to 9/11 to 36 percent more recently.

According to Hyslop another key trend is Americans 16 and older are moving away from team sports to individual sports. Team sports require more time, both to play and to organize playing partners. With all the things Americans want to do in their leisure, individual sports provide the most flexibility.

"These trends also point to the shift toward pleasure and away from competition that has altered the very hierarchy of leisure motivations," Hyslop said. The company has been studying leisure motivators for the past 15 years, finding they yield stronger consumer insights than such traditional dimensions as demography and geography. "Pleasure-seeking now exerts a stronger pull than competition in determining leisure pursuits. The changes point toward a growing desire to have fun and a declining interest in competition and getting ahead in life."

The clearest manifestation of the changing motivations is the long-term growth in participation in entertainment activities, up from 42 percent to 52 percent since 1990. "The ongoing battle between sport and entertainment will determine the future of leisure time in America," Hyslop said.

The absolute authority on leisure in America, Leisure Trends Group provides powerful insight into the changing habits of America at play and the implications to business.

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