The number of hours in the day may not be growing, but the amount of time US consumers spend with media is—thanks to multitasking. The audience’s ability to simultaneously watch TV, text with a friend and browse the web on a tablet (whether they actually pay attention to all three things or not) has meant that, while there are some winners and losers in the media consumption game, television is holding its own as a major activity in the average consumer’s day.
For men, digital media is helping bring them closer to women in their consumption of video content. According to the Q3 2011 edition of Nielsen’s “State of the Media” report, women ages 18 to 49 watched about 10 hours more traditional television per month than men the same age, and older women watched nearly 23 hours more per month. At the same time, men spent more time with video on the internet—about 90 minutes longer among 18- to 49-year-olds and 70 minutes longer among older adults. Men in the 18-to-49 group also spent more time with mobile video than did comparably aged women.
Still, overall time spent with video on the web or mobile phones is tiny compared with time on TV. While mobile has been a major beneficiary of more time spent with digital, much of that time is used for communication and other activities where marketer interruption is less welcome than during traditional video viewing.
2011 research from McKinsey & Co. showed that video viewing time (including watching videos recorded on the mobile device itself) reached just 5 minutes per day for the average US internet user, while talk time was 33 minutes.
eMarketer estimates that mobile accounted for about 10% of adults’ media time in the US last year but less than 1% of ad spending, in part because marketers have been slow to move dollars to mobile. In addition, mobile combines communication and entertainment into a single channel in a personal way, and this can make it difficult to interrupt activities with ads and other marketing messages.
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