Commentary

Do We Do Anything Except Do Media?

Do we do anything beside “do” media? I was just looking at the latest Nielsen cross-platform report  and began to add up and subtract the numbers, to come up with this guess at how things might be.

One unchangeable fact: In seven days, there are 168 hours. Seems short, doesn’t it?

The rest is stats and opinion. Nielsen says we watch 35.1 hours of television per week, listen to 14.1 hours of radio, use the Internet on a computer for 5.1 hours, watch 1.5 hours of video on the Internet, 1.5 hours of content on gaming consoles, 1.3 hours of video from mobile devices, and another 1.3 hours watching material on Blu-ray/DVD.

That’s a stunning amount of time, even if, as is it is my case, I sometimes have at four of those things happening at once.  I’m not normal like that. But the scarier truth is I think I’m usually below average compared to the true heavyweight users of media.

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Be that as it may. I took 168 hours and gave myself seven hours of sleep a day, which brings me down to 119 hours of wakiness per week, during which I then consume a helluva a lot of media, apparently. If Nielsen is right, after I subtract most of the media choices I make, I am down to about 63 hours of time left in that week, not figuring in the radio thing.  (May I add at this point, this link to “Who Listens to Radio?”  a 48-year old promo for the radio biz penned by its patron saint, Stan Freberg that is still the greatest sell for radio I’ve ever heard .)

It all gets complicated after—or even before that—because, like I said, you can consume many of those things at the same time and in fact, that’s the way the biz is working. And Americans are consuming media at work a lot more than we once did. The facts are, it seems to me, is that the ad clutter is probably wildly worse than any of us imagine—I’m sometimes skeptical about the elixir of the second screen--and at the same time if you can’t find a way to get your message heard, you probably aren’t trying hard enough. A new online ad from Burger King in New Zealand is a brilliant commentary on the real futility of pre-roll.

No wonder, though, that things are changing as people try to find a place to shove all that media we’re hoarding, or reduce it a little bit. As MediaPost reported earlier, Nielsen says time-shifting increased by 11% among TV viewers, and alarmingly (if you are in the online video business) there was a 9% decline in users watching video on the Internet to 147.7 million compared to a year ago. Where have they gone? Here's part of the answer.  Nielsen said there was a 40% gain in watching video on a mobile device. Or the whole thing may be a mirage, of sorts. A reader who read yesterday’s story reported that comScore has seen no real decline (or growth I guess) in people watching video on computers—it’s still at 188 million according to them.

pj@mediapost.com

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