Time Spent With Ad-Supported Media Hits All-Time Low, Despite Gains In Total Media Use

The good news is that consumer time spent with media surged during 2020. The bad news is their share of time spent with media supported primarily by advertising dollars fell to its all-time low, according to the latest edition of PQ Media's annual Global Consumer Media Usage Forecast.

The forecast, which is being released this morning, shows the time the average American spent with all forms of media rose 2.9% to 73 hours weekly in 2020, largely due to the impact of the global pandemic.

The time spent by the average global citizen rose 2.8% to 53 hours weekly, according to the new forecast.

But given a corresponding erosion in ad spending, coupled with greater adoption of subscription streaming services and other media during 2020, the share of time spent with ad-supported media fell to 44.8% in the U.S. and to 65.8% worldwide -- both of which are historic lows since PQ Media has been tracking it.

“The prime beneficiaries of this paradoxical growth surge in media usage were consumer-supported media, particularly digital video, audio, games, social media and chat services," states PQ CEO Patrick Quinn, adding: "There’s no doubt that streaming media as a group were the hands-down winners in an otherwise loser of a year for many media stakeholders, particularly those dependent on advertising-driven media.

“As a result, consumer-driven media usage continued a nearly 20-year pattern of snatching away market share from advertising & marketing-supported media, as consumer-driven media accounted for over 55% of all media usage in the US, while its share grew to nearly 35% globally in 2020.”

4 comments about "Time Spent With Ad-Supported Media Hits All-Time Low, Despite Gains In Total Media Use".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 19, 2021 at 10:21 a.m.

    Joe, if you go back to ad-supported media in its heyday---say in 1960----the average adult devoted about 3 hours a day to TV and maybe 2 to radio plus another 1.2 hours to print media. That totalled up to 6 hours per day to ad-supported media. Today, the average adult devotes roughly 3.3 hours a day to what is called "linear TV" plus another hour to AVOD, OTT, CTV, 1.5-1.6 hours to  radio and about 45 minutes to print media and then there are podcasts to consider. So in terms of times spent there has been little change---except the current ad-supported media contain many more ad messages that was common in 1960 hence they offer many more GRPs for sale to advertisers---although it is questionable whether an "impression" today has the same attention getting and holding power as in the distant past.

    As for media that rely mainly---or totally--- on subscription incomes such as Netflix or media that are given free to consumers so they can sell ads to advertisers---Facebook,  YouTube, etc. ---these are fairly recent developments and have pushed the amount of total time spent with media---based on device usage not actual viewing/reading---to all time highs. But percentages of total time spent attained by these divergent media plans are going to be increasingly muddled as the TV networks, stations and cable channels are becoming increasingly oriented towards non-ad incomes. Acordingly, the percentages of time spent with media that rely mainly on ad revenues will soon drop to very low levels-which doesn't necessarily mean that the ad sellers wont have lots of GRPs to offer to advertisers--- they will, though  at much higher prices than before.

  2. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, January 19, 2021 at 4:56 p.m.

    In other news, PQ Media has media usage data for all time.

    But really, how much time did Fred and Barney spend with The Daily Granite ?

  3. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, January 19, 2021 at 5:02 p.m.

    @ "Darrin Stephens": Actually, Fred and Barney only go back to September 1960, when "The Flintstones" premiered -- four years before "Bewitched"! So not that long ago. 

  4. Imran Anwar from IMRAN.TV, January 26, 2021 at 11:18 p.m.

    Great topic... and logical reasons... but I believe there is another key reason....
    I posted a reference and link to your article in what I wrote about it...... thanks. 
    When Media Sites Get So Spammy Even Paying Customers & Media Lovers Turn Them Off https://www.facebook.com/MyIMRAN/posts/4397977783552512 .

    Imran

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