Emarketer Releases Updated 2017 Media Consumption Study

US Adults Spend an Average of 12 Hours a Day Consuming Media

Media Planners Need to Be Aware of These Changing Trends in Content Consumption

EMarketer recently released its updated 2017 US media consumption estimates, spanning across digital, TV, print, radio, and other various online platforms. It’s further proof that one of the hardest jobs in marketing today is media planning. Not only are there seemingly infinite options, but expert pundits decrying death of traditional (TV/Radio/Print), giving a free pass for marketers to plan all “digital,” is patently false. Traditional stills plays a major role in the daily lives of US Adults and it still works for brands. The challenge is a planning tight-rope walk between the old and the new. Here are a few key findings and our takewaways:

  • Americans consume 12 hours of media per day and more than 6 hours of that time will be spent consuming digital content.

    Key Takeaway: With multiple devices/shared screens, media consumption continues to increase (but the hours of the day do not). For example, the study allocates time spent viewing TV and a mobile device to both platforms.

  • Half of all digital media consumption is on a mobile device.

    Key Takeaway: While the increase is slowing, digital budgets need to ensure they account for this mobile share of time spent. The challenge is negative brand implications with intrusive mobile ads, as people view them as most annoying.

  • For mobile consumption, adults spend over 3x more time “In-Apps” than mobile web. Facebook, YouTube, and Facebook Messenger are the top three apps.

    Key Takeaway: Advertisers need to understand this level of distinction – just because you buy “mobile” doesn’t mean it’s “in-app.”

  • TV is still the largest part of media day – viewing almost 4 hours of programming daily.

    Key Takeaway: TV still remains a dominant medium, garnering over 30% of time spent and advertising budgets, respectively.

  • Almost an hour a day is spent on social networks, with Facebook dominating that space.

    Key Takeaway: Don’t be distracted by all the buzz about latest social networks (ie Snapchat). Facebook dominates but we should always have a pulse on where people are “hanging out.” We believe Instagram will continue to be the major growth social platform.

  • Advertisers’ budgets continue to reflect share of time spent with investment. For example, mobile advertising is expected to reflect 30% of media budgets and 28% of time spent. TV has a 34% share and 37% budget allocation.

    Key Takeaway: TV is not dead as some have suggested (typically from the “digital” space).

  • Radio is not dead (just fragmented) – US Adults spend an average of 1 hour per day listening to over-the-air radio. However, US adults streaming audio consumption is virtually the same per day (Pandora/Spotify, etc).

    Key Takeaway: Local DJ personalities still play a key role in retaining audiences – there is still an affinity and relationship with the hometown connection of local radio. However, stations radio need to be careful with excessive spot load. Ask your rep for instances per hour and how it stacks up against competing formats.

  • Declining circulation of print media continues to affect the amount of time consumers spend with the formats. Average time spent will be 24 minutes per day reading print publications this year (11 minutes for magazines and 13 minutes for newspapers). However, those figures are higher for print consumers—not the entire population—who regularly read these publications, with an average of 50 minutes daily. The pattern is similar for regular magazine or newspaper readers, at 29 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively.

    Key Takeaway: Print is not dead (with the right target audience).

  • Share of print budgets are lopsided with respect to time spent. Newspapers/Magazines are 3% of the average adult’s daily media consumption, but 12% of budgets.

    Key Takeaway: We believe this is a testament to it still “works,” especially if the target demographic is older.

Would love to hear from any advertisers, business owners, media experts on your thoughts. Feel free to shoot me a note at or leave a reply below.

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