AT&T's CEO says you'll spend 38% of your life watching video in the future

Randall L. Stephenson, Conan O'BrienGetty/Donald BowersAT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson (left) and Conan O’Brien (right)

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is quite optimistic about video, and thinks you’ll be watching it nine hours a day, eventually.

There are only 24 hours in a day, so if Stephenson is correct, that means people will spend about 38% of their lives — including sleep — watching video.

“We are going to be living in a world where video is pervasively in front of you,” Stephenson said at Business Insider’s Ignition conference Tuesday.

Stephenson said that as companies like AT&T roll out 5G network capability, and supercharge how much data you can consume on the go, that will enable things like virtual reality and self-driving cars to flourish. And it will continue the explosion in video usage.

“Think about the world of autonomous cars,” Stephenson said. What are you doing when you’re in the car? “Ain’t nobody driving,” he laughed.

Today the average person consumes five hours of video a day. “That seems amazing to me,” Stephenson said. But he said in 10-15 years, AT&T thinks people will watch nine hours per day.

And AT&T is betting accordingly.

Last week, AT&T rolled out an internet TV package called DirecTV Now, which it thinks will make it a real competitor to cable TV eventually. The company also will buy Time Warner for about $85 billion, pending regulatory approval. Stephenson said he hopes to use Time Warner to bridge the gap between premium TV and mobile.

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