Cable Technology Feature Article
Content Consumption Reaches a Key Watershed
By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor
The average adult will spend over five hours each day online, on non-voice mobile activities or with other digital media in 2013, eMarketer estimates, compared to four hours and 31 minutes watching television.
There’s one more thing. For many decades, the amount of time U.S. consumers spent watching TV has grown slowly. In 2013, that will not happen. Instead, the amount of time U.S. consumers tend to spend watching linear TV will drop slightly.
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Digital media consumption will be up 15.8 percent, by way of contrast. And, as with so many other changes, the most significant growth area will be mobile consumption.
U.S. adults will spend an average of two hours and 21 minutes per day on non-voice mobile activities, including mobile Internet usage on phones and tablets. That is more time than they will spend on desktop and notebook computers, and nearly an hour more than they spent on mobile last year.
Also, note that multitasking now is a major driver of such “time spent” measurements. When assessing “time spent with media,” eMarketer and others now have to account for times when a user has a TV on, and is watching, but also interacting on a tablet, smartphone or other PC device.
Such multitasking arguably now is driving the overall time people spend with media each day, which eMarketer expects to rise from 11 hours and 39 minutes in 2012 to 11 hours and 52 minutes in 2013.
Time spent with mobile has come to represent a little more than half of TV’s share of total media time, as well as more than half of digital media time as a whole, eMarketer notes.
The bulk of mobile time is spent on smart phones, at one hour and seven minutes per day. Users spend one hour and three minutes a day on their tablets.
Those changes emphasize the important changes in use of screens, which now span phones, tablets, and other personal digital devices such as iPods, notebooks, desktop PCs and televisions.
Once upon a time, watching TV meant using one screen. The language itself is instructive. It doesn’t make much sense to say one is watching my tablet, watching my smartphone or watching my iPod. People are consuming content.
In fact, the importance of content consumption is what is driving use of tablets. People search for things now, as a mission critical activity, more than “write memos, build spreadsheets or create documents and presentations.”
Edited by Alisen Downey