Millennials Consumed By Media, But Boomers Even More

Daily media time for U.S. adults keep climbing. But one interesting note: Millennials still consume less than older consumers.

The latest Nielsen Total Audience report -- the second quarter of this year -- shows obvious trends for those 18-34 years old. This includes lots of time with digital media stuff, smartphones, tablets, and computers and somewhat less with traditional, legacy media -- TV and terrestrial radio.

But when looking at total media time, young media consumers' daily media usage is much lower overall versus older demographic groups.

Media users ages 18-34 spent 8 hours/45 minutes a day with media -- lower than the 11 hours/9 minutes a day for those between the ages of 35 to 49 compared to 12 hours/50 minutes for those 50-64; and 12 hours/16 minutes for those 65 years and older.

Versus all other demographics groups, those 18-34 spend more time with smartphones, at 2 hours/34 minutes (a 29% share) -- than live TV plus time-shifted TV viewing at 2 hours/17 minutes (a 26% share).



So what are young media consumers doing with the rest of their time -- working, non-working, gazing into space? Perhaps there are more face-to-face conversations going on. Good for them.

That said, overall media time for all adults is rising. Time spent across all media for U.S. adults grew 19 minutes -- 13 minutes for digital media platforms and five minutes more for TV-connected devices.

Is there a silver lining in all of this? For advertisers, there would seem to be a big opportunity. But as we all know, media users seek more ad-avoidance efforts across all platforms.

Strong advertising proponents say this is a relatively easy remedy: Find new ways of messaging, such as native advertising, sponsored content and branded entertainment.

The bigger worry for media owners in the future, in an increasingly niche media world, is finding new (young and older) media consumers and higher usage for their platforms.

But what about time away from the media -- traditional, digital, artificial and tangential? New technologies for those off-the-grid?

It seems holograms are the only way around this -- in front of your windshield, sunglasses, and perhaps infiltrating your brain waves via your dreams. After all, ad-blockers are for wimps.

2 comments about "Millennials Consumed By Media, But Boomers Even More".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 2, 2018 at 10:47 a.m.

    Wayne, the devices may be on but that doesn't mean anyone is present and watching the screen, nor, if present, that anyone is paying attention to what's on the screen. We figure that the average adult is "attentive" to around six hours of media per day---not the commonly cited figure of 10-11 hours. Also, when ads are on the screen the incidence of attentiveness for them is far lower than for program or editorial content. As to what young adults are doing when not consuming media that's simple---they are working or at school, travelling to and from work or school, chasing the opposite sex, dating, playing, etc. just like in the old days when they were also the lightest media users.

  2. Leo Kivijarv from PQ Media replied, August 2, 2018 at 6:46 p.m.

    Wayne, I agree with Ed that the 11-to-12 hour benchmarks that are often cited for media usage are inflated - much of that research is based solely on people actually using the medium. Whereast, the apples-to-apples approach is to examine the entire population, including those who use and do not use a specific medium (ex. videogame players (70% of the nation) + non, videogame players (30% of the nation = 0)). This is the approach PQ Media executives have been using for almost three decades and which was confirmed in the mid-2000s by the groundbreaking research on media multitaking by Mike Bloxham (periodic contributor to MediaPost) and his team in the Media Department at Ball State University. At the time, the average media usage was approximately nine hours per day according to PQ Media (up from eight hours in 1975 versus the 10 hours we estimate for 2018). So, Ed there is some truth to your argument about the attentiveness issue when you factor in the media multitasking, which Ball State estimated would cut out about two hours at the time (closer to 2 1/2 hours today with the advent of smartphones). I agree with Ed that historical data shows that younger demos have always used media less than older demos, even when there were fewer options, as the younger demos day has always included: taking classes, doing after school activities, working part-time jobs that don't provide access to media, like fast food and retail employment, being more social on weekends with friends (not ncluding going to the movies with is media usage), and being sent to bed earlier on school nights.

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