The recent results of Nielsen’s Three Screen Report - a quarterly analysis from Nielsen’s Anywhere Anytime Media Measurement initiative (A2/M2) - show that the average American watches approximately 153 hours of TV every month at home, a 1.2% increase from last year. In addition, the 131 million Americans who watch video on the Internet watch on average about 3 hours of video online each month at home and work.
If we get little bit materialistic ...
Even at the bare minimum of $5 per an hour, and extremely materialistic view that ignores the pleasure and joy of watching TV and replace with money you could have earned if you had spent that time in doing something, that is $765 per month.
Consider other costs of watching TV : An article put the cost of TV, Cable, Movie rentals and money you would spend after so positively influenced by TV Advertisements at $700 per month.
If you add both, the money you would spend to watch TV plus the money you would have made if you hadn’t watched TV and do something in that time, it comes to : $1465 per month ( or $17580 per year)
If you just start saving that money or invested in say index funds that earn 5% per year, in 30 years, this money would amass to $1,167,999.26
If you are quite conservative and frugal, let us put the cost of watching TV portion to just $100 per month (Cable, movie rentals and Purchases you make as a result of watching TV) that would bring this cost to $800 per month and over a period of 30 years it will add up to: $637,817.
Tinker with how much you could make per hour, investment vehicles and number of years, you would come up with a number that you could have made. And I am pretty confident that would be north of a Million dollars.