day to day, how much content can consumers handle? There must be a limit, but, as new research shows, multichannel multitasking is pushing it higher than ever.
This year alone, the overall
time that people spend with media each day will rise from 11 hours and 39 minutes in 2012 to 11 hours and 52 minutes, according to new estimates from eMarketer.
“It’s clear that
time spent with media is still increasing as a result of multitasking,” said Clark Fredricksen, vice president and researcher at eMarketer.
Overall, average time spent with digital
media per day is expected to surpass TV viewing time for the first time this year. The average adult will spend over 5 hours per day online, on non-voice mobile activities or with other digital media
this year, eMarketer estimates -- compared to 4 hours and 31 minutes watching television.
Thanks to mobile, daily TV time will actually be down slightly this year, while digital media
consumption will be up 15.8%. 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,
“The continued adoption and increasing time spent using portable devices like smartphone and tablets, which are easily used while also consuming TV or radio, supports
the idea of continued increases in multitasking,” Fredricksen explained.
But how much content can consumers take? No one knows for sure, but, said Fredricksen, “it would be a
surprise if [increases in overall media consumption] didn’t continue into next year.”
“Still, the growth in overall time spent with media is not as fast as last year, so
there may be a threshold for consumers’ multitasking ability,” Fredricksen added. “At this point, consumers are shifting behavior across devices so quickly that it’s difficult
to say when we’ll reach an equilibrium state.”
The bulk of mobile time is spent on smartphones -- at 1 hour and 7 minutes per day -- but tablets are not far behind. Feature
phones account for relatively little time spent on non-voice mobile activities, since few have robust mobile internet capabilities.
To develop its time-spent with media figures, eMarketer
said it analyzed more than 400 data points collected from more than 40 research institutions. As a percentage of time spent with all media, eMarketer’s estimate of adults’ average time
with TV is roughly in line with other firms’ for this year.
Temkin Group is at the low end of estimates among all adult consumers, while MagnaGlobal and GfK figures are more similar
Estimates of TV time among Web users only are somewhat lower as a share of all media -- with the exception of a USA Touchpoints data point -- suggesting Internet users
may devote somewhat less time to TV compared to online media.