Wednesday, November 17, 2010

David Bohan: People spend as much time using media as sleeping

Doctors tell us we need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. Let's say we get a full eight hours. That leaves us with 16 hours to do all the other stuff we need to do each day — work, eat, spend time with family, pray, read, etc.
Well, if you are "average," you are spending at least half of your waking hours with media, according to a survey by media research giant Ipsos OXT. In fact, its Longitudinal Media Experience survey found that daily media use has grown by 40 minutes each year since 2008.

One of the big reasons for increased media use is portability. Laptop computer ownership grew from 46 percent in 2008 to 63 percent in 2010. Almost one-quarter of all U.S. consumers now have Web-enabled smart phones.

Devices coupled with increased bandwidth and seemingly universal cell service now allow for communication virtually anywhere anytime.

"Today's consumer is benefitting from a media ecosystem with better content, media access and technology," said Ned Greenberg, vice president of Ipsos OXT. "They can be more in control of their media experiences than ever before."

Time spent watching television is at an all-time high. Nielsen reported that the average person watches 35 hours and 34 minutes of television weekly. Also, households have more televisions than people. There are four or more TVs in almost one-third of all American homes.

Another factor is that time-shifted viewing has exploded as the presence of digital video recorders has increased (1.2 percent of households in 2006, but 37 percent today).

"The initial fear was that Internet and mobile video and entertainment would slowly cannibalize traditional television viewing, but the steady trend of increased TV viewership alongside simultaneous usage argues something quite different," said Matt O'Grady, media product leader at Nielsen.

So assuming your job or school does not allow you to spend half your time using media, how do you get in your eight hours a day? We do it by multi-tasking.

In December 2009, Nielsen reported that 59 percent of everyone age 2 and older watching television was online at the same time.

Stay busy, consume media

So what else are we doing while we watch television? One big thing is using social media. In fact, 40 percent of online time is spent playing games, e-mailing or visiting social network sites, and social network time is growing — up a half-hour per user per day in just the last year.

"Communications is now entertaining, and entertainment is communications," said Bruce Friend, president of Ipsos OXT. "The speed at which things can be delivered thanks to broadband, and the ways it can be delivered, with digital video recorders and video on demand, mean that the speed of change has ramped up in an unprecedented way."

For marketers, one message is clear: Find ways to get your product or service on a screen.

David Bohan founded BOHAN Advertising|Marketing, a Nashville agency with clients in travel, hospitality, health care and consumer products, in 1990. He has worked in marketing and advertising since earning a degree at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1970.

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