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eMarketer Updates US Time Spent with Media Figures

Adults will spend nearly half of their media day consuming digital content

October 9, 2017

Individuals in the US still manage to spend the equivalent of half a day consuming media. eMarketer estimates that adults will spend an average of 12 hours, 1 minute per day with major media in 2017. People have become more efficient at multitasking, thanks largely to mobile devices (excluding voice), which will take up more than one-quarter of total media time.

Those are just some of the conclusions from eMarketer’s new report, “US Time Spent with Media: eMarketer’s Updated Estimates for 2017.” (Subscribers to eMarketer PRO can access the report here. Nonsubscribers can purchase the report here.)

Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by US Adults, 2017 (hrs:mins)

eMarketer counts each minute of media consumption time regardless of whether it’s simultaneous with any other media. Therefore, total media consumption time continues to grow, even as the number of hours in a day remains the same.

For example, an hour spent watching TV while simultaneously using a smartphone counts as an hour of usage for each medium, and therefore as 2 hours of overall media time. In 2017, the average US adult will spend an additional 2 minutes per day with media over figures from 2016, and 24 minutes more than was spent in 2012.

Multitasking via mobile is primarily responsible for the overall increase in time spent with media. Consumers are spending more of their time on mobile devices conducting attention-heavy activities like video viewing and mobile gaming, but also with less visual activities like audio listening that enable continuous media intake. US adults will spend 3 hours, 17 minutes per day on nonvoice mobile activities in 2017—an increase of more than an hour since 2013.

The amount of attention that an individual can provide to media has its limits, though, and growth is slowing. Time spent with mobile nonvoice will rise by 12 minutes in 2017, and will be offset by declines in time spent with desktops/laptops, print, radio and—most of all—TV.

Despite this, TV will remain the most time-consuming traditional medium for US adults. The format will account for 3 hours, 58 minutes of daily time this year; however, that’s down 7 minutes from 2016. It’s also lower than eMarketer’s previously published forecast of 4 hours, 19 minutes per day.


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