It’s no secret that the spread of mobile devices and faster mobile data networks has transformed global media consumption in recent years. The average person will spend a whopping 479 minutes, or nearly eight hours a day consuming media this year, 12% more than in 2011, according to Zenith's just-out Media Consumption Forecast.
By 2020, people will spend an even more — 492 minutes a day — plugged in, per the report, easily crashing through the eight-hour time-spent-with-media barrier.
One-quarter of this time (24%) will be spent using mobile devices, projected to reach 28% by 2020.
“Mobile technology is challenging brands to rethink how they communicate with consumers,” said Vittorio Bonori, global brand president, Zenith. “Brands need to understand both the consumer’s mind-set and where they sit on the consumer journey, to determine how to communicate with them."
Indeed, consumers who are actively searching for specific information are different from ones sharing holiday photos with friends, or leaning back and enjoying a video. Brands need to understand the signals a consumer’s activity provides about their mind-set to optimize communication strategies for reaching them, per the report.
The report underscores growing industry sentiment that the distinction between traditional and digital is to a large degree irrelevant in today’s media environment. "It’s more important that a consumer is reading news, than whether they are doing so using a printed newspaper or newspaper websites."
The fourth edition of the report advises brands to use data, ad tech and artificial intelligence to better coordinate their communications across media and mind-sets to understand new consumer journeys most effectively.
In the OOH sector, time spent at the cinema increased 3% between 2011 and 2018 as cinema owners have invested in more screens and a better experience for visitors, while studios have marketed their films more effectively to international audiences. Although this activity consumes just 1.7 minutes a day currently, Zenith estimates it will grow to 1.9 minutes in 2020.
Time spent with other channels continues to fall. Newspapers and magazines have lost the most, specifically 45% for newspapers and 56% for magazines between 2011 and 2018.
However, this refers only to time spent reading printed publications. Time spent reading newspapers and magazines online is included in the internet total. For many publications, the time they have gained online more than makes up for the time they have lost from print.
Time spent watching television shrank by 3% between 2011 and 2018, while time spent listening to radio dropped by 8%. But the report stresses that television channels and radio stations have gained audiences online at the same time as they have lost them offline. That said, TV is facing growing competition from native digital platforms, such as YouTube and Spotify.