Report: Americans now spend more time on Internet than TV

written by: Richard Kastelein

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digitalmedialogoAccording to a recent study by eMarketer, digital media (online, mobile and "other") accounted for 43.4 percent of time spent with major media - way up from 38.5 percent in 2012 and is expected to reach 47.1 percent in 2014.

In 2013, time spent with digital media among US adults surpassed time spent with TV for the first time and it was mobile driving the shift. This year, that trend will continue, according to new figures from eMarketer, as time spent with mobile devices continues to grow much faster than usage of all other media.

US adults still spend considerably more time with TV than with any other single medium, and in 2014, they’ll be in front their televisions for an average of 4 hours 28 minutes per day, eMarketer estimates. That’s down from 2013, but by a mere three minutes.

Combining online and mobile devices, however, eMarketer expects US adults to spend 5 hours 46 minutes with digital media daily this year, increasing digital’s lead over television to well over 1 hour per day. Digital media, in our definition, includes all online, mobile and other non-mobile connected-device activities, such as video streamed through over-the-top services.

That increase is almost exclusively attributable to mobile. In 2014, US adults will spend 23.0% more time with mobile on an average day than in 2013, according to eMarketer’s forecast—and that’s led to mobile cannibalizing time spent with just about every other category. Even desktop time will drop this year, both in absolute terms and as a share of time spent with all media. Last year, mobile time (excluding voice calls) lined up evenly with time spent online on desktops and laptops, at 2 hours 19 minutes each. This year, mobile will pull far ahead, to 2 hours 51 minutes, vs. 2 hours 12 minutes spent online on PCs. Overall, TV will account for 36.5% of total time spent with media in 2014, compared with mobile at 23.3%, which is now firmly in second place.

eMarketer’s estimates of time spent with media include all time spent within each medium, regardless of multitasking. Consumers who spend one hour watching TV while multitasking on tablet devices, for example, would be counted as spending 1 hour with TV and an additional hour on mobile. Such multitasking helps to contribute to the significant amount of time people spend with media each day. Despite that, time spent with media is a finite activity, and increases are slowing. According to their estimates, overall time spent with media increased 4.6% in 2012 to 11 hours 49 minutes; in 2013, 2.0% to 12 hours 3 minutes; and this year, 1.5% to 12 hours 14 minutes.

Continued smartphone and tablet adoption has boosted time spent with activities across mobile devices, including video content and social networking. For example, mobile still accounts for a relatively small share of overall TV/video content viewing time, with an average of 33 minutes per day in 2014 out of a total 5 hours 23 minutes across all devices, including TV, mobile and PCs. (This figure excludes digital video streamed directly to smart or connected TVs, which is not broken out from the “other digital” category.) Time spent with mobile video is tiny compared with TV’s figure, but the growth is all with mobile, which will rise 50.0% in 2014 as both online and TV viewing remain essentially flat.

Meanwhile, social network usage among US adults has made the switch to majority-mobile this year. More than half of mobile social networking will be conducted on smartphones, and tablets will account for an additional 15 minutes per day on average. Last year, US adults spent 33 minutes on social networks online vs. 29 minutes on mobile devices.

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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