The Internet Pushes Individual Media Use to More Than 8 Hours A Day

New ZenithOptimedia forecast

Consumer Internet use will increase 12 percent globally this year, helping drive average individual media consumption to more than eight hours a day, according to a new Media Consumption Forecasts report from ZenithOptimedia. As that trend continues, in 2017 the Internet will account for 29 percent of the time people spend with media.

"The average person already spends half their waking life consuming media," said Jonathan Barnard, ZO's head of forecasting. "But people around the world are clearly hungry for even more opportunities to discover information, enjoy entertainment and communicate with each other, and new technology is supplying these opportunities."

ZO's forecast covers the changing patterns of media consumption in 65 countries from 2014 to 2017.

The amount of time people spent using the internet has nearly doubled since 2010, from a daily average of almost 60 minutes to one hour, 49 minutes today. Mobile technology is accelerating that trend, providing consumers new opportunities to consume media outside of home and work.

While that growth has come at the expense of traditional media in the last five years—ZO found that time allocated to traditional media dropped nearly 30 minutes to a daily average of 6 hours, 15 minutes—television still dominates global media use. It's losing share, however, dropping from 42 percent of global media consumption in 2010 to 38 percent last year. It is expected to account for 35 percent by 2017. (Such ZO data refers to the use of traditional media like TV in their original format; the same applies to other traditional media cited in the report.)

With the exception of outdoor, all traditional media, including newspapers, magazines, radio and cinema, saw their usage slip in the last four years—declines ZO expects to continue into 2017. Newspapers continue to get hit hardest, with average reading time down 26 percent, followed by magazines, showing a decline of 19 percent. From 2014 and 2017, ZO expects newspaper readership to shrink by an average of 5 percent a year, while magazine and TV consumption will decline at average rates of 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Exposure to outdoor advertising has grown 1 percent since 2010, thanks to an increase in outdoor displays in public spaces, urban migration in emerging markets, and consumers' greater out-of-home leisure time and disposable income since the financial recovery. That growth is slowing, though: ZO predicts virtually no increase in outdoor exposure in the next few years.

Latin Americans spend the most time with media, taking in over 12 hours on average every day, while those in the Asia-Pacific region consume the least, at five hours. But time spent with media in that region is growing well ahead of the global average as economic development allows consumers greater access to media and more leisure time. Media consumption in the Asia-Pacific region grew by 7 percent in 2014, and ZO predicts annual growth of 3 percent to 2017.