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Big Picture Trends & Forecasts

The following excerpt is from eMarketer's report:"US Time Spent with Media: The Complete eMarketer Forecast for 2013"

This report examines two new milestones in media consumption patterns, based on eMarketer estimates. The ongoing rise in time spent on the internet—boosted significantly by smartphone and mobile internet uptake—has led, for the first time this year, to digital media overtaking TV in the amount of time the average adult spends with each medium daily.

Meanwhile, the rapid increase in time spent with mobile devices, including phones and tablets, means that nonvoice mobile activities now account for more time per day than the average adult spends online on a desktop or laptop.

It's important to note that "time spent with media" is at best an incomplete measurement. For marketers, a user who spends an hour reading and writing email on a mobile device has little in common with one who watches television for the same amount of time.

In addition, eMarketer's "time spent" estimates reflect blurring lines of media consumption. US adults are accessing traditional content on nontraditional channels—for example, TV programming viewed on a tablet. In many instances this may "count" as time spent on a digital device, but it reflects the fact that consumption of TV content is rising thanks to a variety of nontraditional options users have for watching TV and TV-like content.

This Report Answers These Key Questions:

  • How much time does the average US adult spend with major media each day?
  • How quickly is time spent with digital media, especially mobile, growing?
  • What does multitasking mean for overall media consumption time?
  • How have tablets and smartphones contributed to the rise in time spent with mobile?

Milestone: Time Spent with Digital Surpasses TV Time

This year—for the first time ever—the average time US adults spend with digital media per day will surpass the amount spent viewing TV; this estimate is part of eMarketer’s July 2013 forecast for media consumption among consumers 18 and older.

The average adult will spend more than 5 hours per day online, on nonvoice mobile activities or with other digital media in 2013, eMarketer predicts, compared with 4 hours and 31 minutes watching television. Daily TV time will actually be down slightly this year, while digital media consumption will increase 15.8%.

The full text of this report is available to eMarketer corporate subscribers only.

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