Latest Media Consumption Estimates Show Expected Trends

May 10, 2017

Consumers are spending more time with major media each day, and all that extra time is going to digital media. That’s according to our look at eMarketer’s latest daily major media consumption estimates, which we compared to earlier figures released for 2012. The increase in media time has clearly gone digital’s way (no surprises, there), though radio has been quite resilient among traditional media.

Over the past 5 years, eMarketer estimates that adults have added almost half-an-hour to their daily media diet, now exceeding 12 hours. If that seems impossible, that’s because it basically is. Those figures include multitasking, such that an hour spent looking at a smartphone while watching TV is counted as 2 hours.

It stands to reason that the additional time spent with media is going to digital – with some of that likely due to multitasking. A recent study [pdf] from the Council for Research Excellence found that TV viewers are distracted by second screens almost one-quarter of the time they’re in front of the TV. So, with the proliferation of smartphones over the years, it makes sense that these multitasking hours would add up.

As for TV, eMarketer figures that time spent in front of the box has dropped by a bit more than half-an-hour over the past 5 years, to just over 4 hours per day. That’s a decline of about 1/8th of viewing time over 5 years. Our own analysis (it’s lengthy, check it out!) shows how unevenly this has been distributed by age group, with young Millennials (18-24) watching almost 40% less traditional TV compared to 5 years earlier, and the 65+ group watching almost 10% more!

While TV is struggling to hold its own, radio consumption has been largely unaffected by the advent of digital media, despite the rise of internet radio. This year adults will spend 1 hour and 26 minutes per day on average listening to the radio, just 6 minutes fewer than 5 years ago. This is reflected in the outlook for radio advertising, which remains steady albeit with some shift to digital.

Meanwhile, print is… dropping. With a 15-minute fall in daily time spend over the past 5 years, print consumption is down to 15 minutes a day this year. This is clearly the medium that has been hit the hardest by digital, although it’s not a global phenomenon as print newspaper circulation and advertising is growing in some parts of the world.

As for digital, the great cannibalizer? It’s being eaten from the inside by mobile devices, which have completely upended desktops. This year, of the almost 6 hours spent (5:50) spent with digital media each day, a solid 55% (3:14) will be allocated to mobile media (non-voice). Back in 2012, mobile’s share of digital media time was just 35%.

In fact, to finish off, here are 2 milestones we’ve reported this year for mobile devices:

[NOTE: If you’re interested in media consumption and advertising, check out our latest premium reports:

– (3rd Edition) US Media Audience Demographics – offering a look at the composition (by age, income and race/ethnicity) of a host of media audiences, including TV, radio and print.

– (3rd Edition) Advertising Channels With the Largest Purchase Influence on Consumers – provides insights as to how various media ads rank as a stated purchase influencer among various demographic groups.]


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