Media Consumption Eroding

Discussion
Aug 18, 2008

By Tom Ryan

According to Veronis Suhler Stevenson’s Communications Industry Forecast, the time Americans spend consuming media has declined for the third year in a row. Although the declines are modest – dropping just 0.1 percent in 2006, 2007 and 2008 – they suggest that the shift toward digital technology is enabling consumers to compress the amount of time they spend accessing and consuming media.

The declines reflect the shift from traditional media, especially print media such as newspapers, magazines, and books, though even traditional TV usage is projected to decline this year. The main issue is that it takes longer to read a book, newspaper or magazine or to watch a TV show than to get information or watch videos on the web. VSS EVP James Rutherfurd terms this the “efficiency effect” of digital media.

“A consumer looking for news can, in ten-minutes online, capture what probably took 40-minutes to do with a traditional newspaper,” Mr. Rutherfurd told MediaPost. “I think what you will see is that the time spent with new media obviously is increasingly, but the total time spent with media is not.”

The trend certainly complicates efforts by brands to reach consumers through broadcast TV and radio stations, consumer magazines, and especially newspapers.

This year, VSS, a media private equity firm, projects that the amount of time the average American will spend consuming media will decline 0.1 percent to 3,493 hours. Besides the digital media multitasking, the declines reflect a diversion from media platforms such as dial-up internet access that VSS said are becoming “obsolescent.”

Time spent with media that have a digital component, however, is expected to climb. For example, time spent on the internet will surpass recorded music as the third most used medium after television and radio. Next year, people will devote more time to video games than to books. In 2010, games will surpass consumer magazines.

Regarding advertising spending, the report noted that this year will mark the first time in U.S. history broadcast television will get more advertising dollars than newspapers. By 2012, however, internet advertising will take over as the leading generator of advertising revenue. According to VSS, internet advertising will boast an 18.9 percent compound annual growth rate from 2007-12, compared with 2.6 percent for broadcast TV and negative 2.8 percent for newspapers.

Discussion Question: Will consumers be able to exert significantly greater control over media consumption in the digital age? How will it affect brand communications? Will out-of-home advertising, for example, become a bigger vehicle for brand communications?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

7 Comments on "Media Consumption Eroding"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Steve Bramhall
Guest
Steve Bramhall
13 years 9 months ago

My life is online and getting more so every day. Marketing can be more focused online and get companies closer to their customers and get their attention better than mass market advertising–something that all companies must aspire to. Data is more easily captured and acted upon.

I will still read the newspaper and books, but TV has almost disappeared from my daily activities.

Max Goldberg
Guest
13 years 9 months ago

The trend for consumers to control over media will continue to grow. Smart marketers will hone the core stories of their brands to capture consumer attention and then will enter into a dialogue with consumers, listening more than selling.

This trend is not new. It has been ongoing for 10 years. I’m amazed to see how few companies are actively testing the digital marketplace with new concepts. One of the benefits of digital is that companies can more easily gather data, yet many companies do not have a mechanism in place to capture, let alone use, this data.

Consumers will control what advertising they see and when they see it. When they search out information, they are inviting a dialogue with brands. But that dialogue must be sincere, providing helpful information, not just touting brand attributes. The new world in advertising has arrived. How will brands respond to it?

Phil Rubin
Guest
Phil Rubin
13 years 9 months ago

If anything, it’s surprising that there isn’t a sharper decline in traditional media reported. With the additional messages consumers are exposed to (5,000 per day and rising), the “efficiency effect” cited above probably serves to overstate impact of traditional media, especially television.

More and more people are “watching” television while in front of a computer screen, showing where their true engagement is.

While mass media is still great and irreplaceable in terms of broad reach, it’s increasingly irrelevant to most customers and unaccountable in terms of its linkage with sales. Look at Nielsen Connect–this is one of TV’s latest attempts to create a better link between viewers and buyers, and it still has a long way to go.

John Gaffney
Guest
John Gaffney
13 years 9 months ago

The big issue for retailers is communicating price and selection. Consumers are moving faster and their attention spans are shorter. That environment is difficult for newspaper ads, and magazine ads. It is however, a compelling argument for FSIs, which I expect to end this year with a huge increase over 2007.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
13 years 9 months ago

The shift in media to online and in-store reflects the time compression of busy lives, and the opportunity to connect with interested shoppers. When a consumer is deciding about a purchase, the stronger connection will be in the moment. Looking for something? We quickly find the information in online searches-our attention is engaged about the product. In the store, consumers trying to make a decision about what to purchase will consider in store advertising to make the choice. Traditional TV and print media will present opportunities to build brand awareness, but targeted messages out of home will have greater impact in many categories.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
13 years 9 months ago

Advertisers will have to go with the contemporary flow. People today, particularly people under 45, are racing to access every thing instantly from news to social and physical acquisitions. Phone communications are ubiquitous and a courtship can occur in one night. The Digital Age allows for that and that’s the age we are in.

Meanwhile, I am like the last of the Mohegans reading the daily newspaper cover to cover each day and enjoying every scrap of background information and remaining marketing appeals therein.

Everything, however, seems to run in cycles. So somewhere out in the future many things could slow down and a nostalgic cycle might reappear. Think about it.

Mark Lilien
Guest
13 years 9 months ago

As more advertising becomes intrusive, a medium’s usage growth rate will slow down. In other words, free radio listenership stopped growing when commercials became 1/3 or more of each hour and satellite radio became available. Free broadcast TV lost share to premium cable TV because audiences got tired of the commercials and they found an alternative. So poor folks are forced to use “free” media but the most desirable audiences gave up. And ad rates for economically disadvantaged audiences aren’t very lucrative.

Newspapers that cut their unique reporting will lose the “premium audience” so they might as well go to free circulation (100% advertiser-paid). The newspapers who raise their subscription prices and improve their editorial quality will earn premium rates from advertisers who want premium audiences

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Where do you see the greatest potential for advertising media growth in the future?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...