Trends in Media Usage

Faced with many options and not sure whether to place your next message online, in print or if you should consider developing media like Spotify? PQ Media tracks digital and traditional media usage among consumers and their latest forecast just may help your decision.

It seems like everything is going digital so it’s no surprise that in the U.S. our digital media usage rose 7.1% in 2015 to an average of 18.0 hours weekly—and that followed a 9.6% increase in 2014. Driving the trend is higher smartphone and tablet penetration, the launch of new gaming consoles, and the impact of major political and sporting events, according to the report “Global Consumer Media Usage & Exposure Forecast 2015-19.”

The fastest-growing digital media channel in the U.S. was mobile audio, with consumer usage surging 33.5% in 2015, fueled by the growing use of music subscription services such as Spotify. Mobile video usage jumped 26.9%, with telecommunications providers like Verizon offering promotional data plans on tablets and smartphones.

Traditional media usage in the U.S. declined 2.4% in 2015 to 46.8 hours weekly, and is expected to decrease another 2.1% through 2019. The drop will mean a reduction of more than 10 hours per week since 2009.

Television remains our leading combined traditional and digital media choice with the average consumer viewing 32.4 hours per week, or 50.2%, of all media consumption. Influencing usage is the expansion of devices consumers can use to access programming—including TV sets, Internet video services, laptop computers and smartphones—as well as the increase in scripted shows created for non-TV sets.

Nevertheless, the increased availability of other media content, such as user-generated content, as well as younger demos watching less TV should result in total TV usage accounting for less than half of all U.S. media consumption in 2017 for the first time since 1953, when radio was the dominant media choice.

Gen-X consumers are the heaviest digital media users in the U.S., running up an average of 25.3 hours a week in 2015, while the Great Generation are the lightest users at 13.2 hours. End users in the iGen group, the youngest demo, expended 39.5% of their total time spent with media on digital formats, the highest share of all generation categories

Download an executive summary, table of contents and sample data from the survey.

Online training in digital, mobile and social media from ABA.