Commentary

Media Lite

A line in a story about how Europeans are spending more time online than they spend with magazines and newspapers caught my eye: "Jupiter Research says.... overall media consumption is now 19 hours a week, rising from 15 hours in 2003."

Where? In Botswana? Nineteen hours a week averages out to 2.714285714 hours a day (give or take). Christ, that barely covers the Thursday lineup of "The Office," "Grey's Anatomy" and "ER," much less leave time for Katie to smile her way through the news--or for me to switch over and see a ball game during the commercials.

As a public service, allow me to summarize my media consumption on any given weekday, categorized by medium (or should it be media, can never remember) and time spent:
Newspapers (two national, one local)--1.25 hours
Personal media player (if people are talking on the train)--.75 hour
Online--8 to 10 hours
Online radio--6 to 8 hours
Land line--.50 hour
Mobile--1.25 hours
Satellite radio in car--.50 hour
CD player in car (when satellite signal dies) --.10 hour
TV (network)(often recorded, skipping every commercial on playback)--2 hours
TV (cable)--3 hours
Magazines (in bathroom and during commercials)--1 hour
Books--.75 hour
Reading snail mail --.05 hour

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That comes to a shade over 27 hours every working day. You can add significant hours if there is a high school or college football game, or nearly any professional playoff game on that day. Or if, when I intend to turn off the boob tube at 11:30 and read my book, a cable network offers up a film featuring war, nudity or serial killers. In that case, you can ex out the book and add in a couple of thousand calories to get me through to 2 a.m.

This total doesn't count a good deal of incidental media consumption, such as the iPod Muzak I have to talk over as the price paid for having a conversation with my 15-year-old, or the 15 minutes of Nick shows I have to sit through to talk with my 12-year-old, or the 15 minutes of video games I have to suffer to talk to my 9-year-old. My wife, on the other hand, is pretty easy to talk to as long as she isn't already on the phone (where she is a lot) or is watching "Boston Legal," in which case you take your life in your hands by uttering a word in the same room.

It is interesting to note that about the only medium I consume when not multitasking (which can often mean three media on at the same time) is my commercial-free books. My XM Radio classic rock channels have no commercials, but they are background for whatever else I am doing.

I see a couple of movies a week, but have become a student of avoiding the 15 minutes of commercials that precede them, by coming late. At any rate, that is generally incremental media consumption.

If you find that person who spends only 2.714285714 hours a day (give or take) consuming media, encourage him that if Martha can rehab after jail time, so can he.

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