How much is new media encroaching on old?
Surprisingly little, in the very short term
By Bill Cromwell
March 6, 2014
With so many new media options fighting for our attention, including DVRs, gaming consoles, video on demand, online video and smartphones, how long until they begin cannibalizing time spent with old media?
The answer: Not anytime soon.
The latest Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, measuring consumption of media across a variety of devices, confirms that use of TV and radio still dwarfs everything else.
But while old media continues to dominate, new media is picking up steam more quickly, and increasing usage by younger demos suggests that dominance will end at some point way down the road.
“TV holds up well among virtually all audience groups, as it remains the broadest reaching medium with the greatest amount of inventory tonnage,” writes Brian Wieser in a note on the Nielsen report.
“This reason remains a paramount factor why traditional TV is the primary beneficiary of ad budget allocations for large brands.”
Nielsen found that the average adult over the age of 18 spent five hours and four minutes per day watching live television during fourth quarter 2013, down from five hours and 10 minutes that same time in 2012.
During that same time, the average adult spent two hours and 46 minutes listening to terrestrial radio, down four minutes from the previous year.
While those media both saw declines, a number of new media were up. Time spent watching time-shifted TV increased from 27 to 32 minutes, and smartphone usage soared from 53 minutes to one hour and seven minutes. Game console time grew from 10 to 12 minutes.
The only new media usage to decrease was time using the internet on a computer, which is falling because more people are accessing the web via their cell phones.
That was off four minutes from 2012, to one hour and one minute per day.
However, when kids and teens are included in the data, the time with new media grows markedly.
Though they still spend more time with television than any other medium, they also spend hours more with time-shifted TV, gaming consoles and DVD players than their adult counterparts, and way less time with TV and radio.
The question is when will new media time start to balance out. It’s definitely growing at a faster clip.
From fourth quarter 2011 to 2012, smartphone usage per day grew 10 percent, but it soared 26 percent from 2012 to 2013.
And time shifting grew 8 percent from 2011 to 2012 and 25 percent from 2012 to 2013.
Online video providers are already pushing for their products to be considered on par with television, through events like April’s Digital Content Newfronts.
Though the numbers definitely do not support that argument yet, in the long term they may.
“For large brands digital advertising remains an environment primarily focused on engagement-based goals, which are unlikely to ever surpass the spending that is allocated to television, both because of the medium’s perceived effectiveness, but also because of the relatively broader use of the medium and ease with which reach and frequency based goals may be accomplished,” Wieser notes.