US Weekly Media Usage Estimates: TV Still the Single Biggest Time Hog

March 13, 2014

Experian-Weekly-Time-Spent-Devices-and-Media-Mar2014Various research outlets have released media usage estimates of late, with eMarketer grabbing some headlines last year when it estimated that US adults would spend more time with non-voice activities on mobile devices (i.e. mobile web/apps) than they would going online from desktop and laptop computers. (This proved to be correct, according to recent comScore data.) The researcher also estimated that time spent with digital media would outpace TV; newly-released data [download page] from Experian Marketing Services show that, when excluding work hours, it’s a close race.

In terms of individual activities, though, TV is the clear-cut winner: US adults spend more than 27 hours a week watching TV, per Experian. That figure is actually significantly less than what Nielsen sees (37 hours a week on average among adults) – although those figures vary wildly by age group. Nevertheless, Experian’s estimate for TV outstrips by a large margin the average amount of time adults spend on computers at work (11:40) or at home (8:53). Mobile devices fall a little further behind, with average time spent with mobile phones and tablets working out to be a little less than 8 hours a week each, per Experian’s numbers.

Interestingly, the study finds that adults spend more time with their gaming consoles (6:51) than they do with newspapers (2:26) and magazines (2:24) combined. That’s despite those print channels sporting significantly higher reach on both a weekly and daily basis than gaming consoles.

As regards device reach, TV is still the leader, with 97% of US adults watching TV during a typical week, and 84% on a typical day. Mobile phones aren’t far behind, at 89% and 68%, respectively. Those gaps narrow when looking at the affluent population (defined as those with incomes of at least $100,000). Among this group, 80% use a mobile phone on a typical day and 87% watch TV. And during the typical week, 96% use mobile phones (who are those other 4%?) and 98% watch TV.

Experian notes that many adults multi-task while watching TV, a well-known behavior at this point. Some 31% of adults say they often use their mobile phones or computers while watching TV – with this more prevalent among smartphone owners, of whom 44% use their device in front of the TV.

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