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Average Adult Watches an Hour of TV Ads a Day

30 March 2009 No Comment
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TV Media Consumption

TV Media Consumption


When the subjects were asked to recall their media consumption behaviors, “people underestimated the amount of time they spent with TV by a substantial amount,” about 25 percent on average. – Mr. Wakshlag

  • Average Americans are exposed to 61 minutes of TV ads and promotions every day.
  • An Average Adult are exposed to some form of digital screen (TV, GPS, Cellphones, Computers) for 8.5 hours a day.
  • Computer usage has supplanted radio as the second most common media activity

These are some of the statistics found by the Council for Research Excellence, formed by the Nielsen Company. The $3.5 million dollar study was started to determine whether media companies needed new ways to measure media. Ball State University’s Center of Media Design conducted the study and called it the largest observational look at media usage ever conducted. Rather than surveys, researches shadowed 350 people (over 18 years of age) and recorded their behavior in 10 second increments for 952 days.

Consistent Exposure to Media among All Ages
They found that the number of minutes exposed to advertising was consistent among all the age groups other than 45-54 year olds who spend on average an extra hours more in front of the screen.

“It flies in the face of conventional wisdom, of course, which tells us that the younger cohorts apparently spend more time with screen-based media,” said Michael Bloxham, a director of the center at Ball State.

Television is still King of Media
The data reaffirms much of what was found in the past, that television remains by far the dominant medium for video viewing which is a comforting thought for the television industry. The media study found that the average adult was exposed to a little over 5 hours a day of live TV every day.

“Even though people have the opportunity to watch video on their computers and cellphones, TV accounts for 99 percent of all video consumed in 2008,” Mr. Bloxham said. “Even among the 18-to-24-year-olds, it was 98 percent.”

Differences in Media Consumption by Age Groups
However for the younger viewers, there are some indicators that the web is having an influence on media consumption. 18 to 24 year olds watch the least amount of live TV among all age groups at 3.5 hours a day. Among all age groups they spend the most time in watching online videos (5.5 minutes a day) and text messaging (29 minutes a day).

When you get slightly older at 25 to 34, this group spends the most time watching DVDs.

Ages 35 to 44? Spend more time on the Web than other groups (74 minutes a day)
Ages 45 to 54? Spends the most time on e-mail.
Age 65+? Watch the most live TV.

Usage of Digital Video Recorders for TV Viewing

More than 30 percent of households now own digital video recorders. This allows them to fast-forward through ads and pick and choose what they want to watch. The study found that the average American watches 15 minutes of TV using a DVR per day.

Everyone underestimated time they spent watching TV
The study showed similar statistics as past studies by Nielsen but one interesting note is that the researches found that people remembered watching less TV then they actually did.

When the subjects were asked to recall their media consumption behaviors, “people underestimated the amount of time they spent with TV by a substantial amount,” about 25 percent on average, Mr. Wakshlag said.

The “social stigma” that causes some to under report is the idea that they may be seen as a “couch potato”. However for some people there is no such social stigma, in fact they consider the ability to talk about some show or game is useful social currency.

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