TV still has us hooked.

I have a home office, so I’m tooling away on my computer much more than I should be each day. However, a recent study on video media usage by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design helped put a few things in perspective for me. Their new Video Consumer Mapping Study tracked how, where, how often and for how long consumers are exposed to media. They found that television remains extremely prevalent in people’s lives, with consumers spending an average of 5.9 hours in daily viewing time. The largest percentage of this usage is live TV rather than playback. What was more shocking to me, though, was the total consumer screen time during a day averaged just over 8.5 hours. That’s a lot of time spent with a digital friend.

The study categorized media into four types of screens: traditional television (including live and DVR); computer (Web use, email, instant messaging and video); mobile devices (including texting and video); and all other screens such as out-of-home advertising. Although the composition of consumers’ screen media time varied across age groups, total screen time was pretty similar overall. Younger baby boomers (ages 45-54) had the highest consumption of media with an average daily screen time of just over 9.5 hours.

My first thought is that 9.5 hours is an extremely great night’s sleep. But it’s also a tremendous amount of exposure and creates a vast opportunity to get your message out in front of an audience. The study disputed several commonly held beliefs about media activity:

* Consumers are not channel surfing to avoid ads. TV users were exposed to, on average, 72 minutes per day of TV ads and promos.

* Despite the proliferation of computers and video-capable phones, TV in home still commands the greatest amount of viewing, even among those ages 18-24.

* Even in major metro areas where commute times can be long and radio remains popular, computer usage has replaced radio as the No. 2 media activity. Radio is now third and print media is fourth.

Results from this extensive study are consistent with previous Nielson studies that have found video consumption has never been higher and that TV continues to dominate the media landscape. It’s an interesting look at how we spend our time and good news for advertisers everywhere.

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