Americans spend more time using the media than anything else

MUMBAI: The average American spends more time using media devices —television, radio, iPods and cell phones — than any other activity while awake, says a new study from Ball State University.



The Middletown Media Studies 2 (MMS2) also found participants are adept at managing their use of two or more types of media at the same time. About 30 per cent of the observed waking day was spent with media as the sole activity versus 20.8 per cent for work activity, while an additional 39 per cent of the day was spent with media while involved in some other activity. In any given hour no less than 30 per cent of those studied were engaged in some way with television, and in some hours of the day that figure rose to 70 per cent.

While television is still by far the dominant medium in terms of the time average Americans spend daily with media at 240.9 minutes, the computer has emerged as the second most significant media device at about 120 minutes. About 30 per cent of all media time is spent exposed to more than one medium at a time. People aged 18 to 24 spend less time online than any other age group except those older than 65. The levels of concurrent media exposure were higher among those 40 to 65 than people 18 to 39



Telecommunications professor Robert Papper says, "As a society, we are consumers of media. The average person spends about nine hours a day using some type of media, which is arguably in excess of anything we would have envisioned 10 years ago."

Use of the Web, e-mail and phones is substantially higher on Fridays than any other day of the week. Papper adds, "Television is still the 800-pound gorilla because of how much the average person is exposed to it. However, that is quickly evolving. When we combine time spent on the Web, using e-mail, instant messaging and software such as word processing, the computer eclipses all other media with the single exception of television.



The introduction of the computer into the workplace also has created a whole class of multitaskers. We thought that young people would be better at multitasking. But computers have forced older workers to do more than one thing at a time to survive in the workplace."

From an advertising perspective, the research has both good and bad news based on the array of new media outlets along with the challenge of more outlets competing for attention. Increased choice and interactivity is giving more control to consumers over their media experiences. Media strategies should perhaps no longer be media centric, but should focus on consumers. For example, if media usage increases on Fridays based on the assumption that people are planning social activities, then this would be potentially the best day to advertise movies, drink and food specials and other products.

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