Study: Consumers Are Spending Less Time With Ad-Supported Media



New research suggests that ad-supported media’s share of consumer time reaches lowest point in years.


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Consumers are spending more time with media than ever before; however, per PQ Media’s Global Consumer Media Usage & Exposure Forecast, our time with ads across these channels is declining.

This is largely due to the increase in ad-free subscription models like Netflix and The New York Times, ad-blocking, and consumers’ general aversion toward advertising experiences that cut into their engagement time.

Here’s are some of the key findings from the research:

  • The total amount of time Americans spent consuming media increased slightly between 2016 and 2017 (70.44 hours per week in 2016 compared to 70.7 hours per week in 2017). This number is expected to increase 1.2 percent this year with the help of this past February’s Winter games and upcoming fall midterm elections.
  • Currently, ad-supported media represents two-thirds (66.5 percent) of the 7.3 hours consumers spend with media daily. PQ projects that this number will fall to 63.4 percent by 2021.
  • Ad-supported media’s share of consumer time will drop to 42.5 percent by 2021. This past year, the number fell to 44.4 percent, its lowest point ever, per the research.
  • Digital media usage and exposure accounted for 37.4 percent of all U.S. consumer time spent with media in 2017, capturing nearly 13 share points from traditional media between 2011 and 2017. This was largely fueled by an uptick in mobile audio, video, books, games and news, each of which grew faster than 20 percent in 2017.
  • Aggregate mobile media usage (9.1 hours per week) surpassed that of internet media (8.1 hours per week) in 2017.
  • OTT video was the only non-mobile media channel to exhibit double-digit growth between 2016 and 2017, and was unquestionably the most used digital media channel. This was driven by widespread use of subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, however PQ’s report found that OTT video has yet to surpass one hour per day in terms of daily average view time.
  • US consumers spent an average of 4.8 hours per day in 2017 watching video, including live TV, OTT, mobile and internet, accounting for over 50 percent of overall consumer media usage in 2017

Per PQ Media, several indicators pointed to decelerating mobile and eventually overall digital media growth in the next few years. This will be due to a saturated wireless device market driving users to wait longer to go in for their upgrades and fewer purchases of first-time computer tablets by end users.

Further, despite cord-cutting behaviors becoming relatively commonplace, causing a 2.1 percent drop in live television viewing in 2017 alone, consumers are still dedicating a lot of time to TV. In fact, in 2017, U.S. consumers spent more time watching TV than ever before.

Per MediaPost, PQ Media also cites IoT, bots, and AI as emerging technologies that stand to further seamlessly integrate marketing campaigns into our media experiences.

To further explore media consumption habits and trends as well as the emerging technologies dictating their future, join us at SMWNYC this April (24-27). Claim your pass today.

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