A recent press release from ZenithOptimedia revealed an astounding statistic that somehow feels about right. . . According to the agency’s report, “Media Consumption Forecasts,” people around the world will spend an average of more than eight hours a day consuming media this year.

“The Return On Investment” agency and leading global media services network, ZenithOptimedia (which, like Saatchi & Saatchi, is part of the Publicis Groupe network), found that the citizens of the world will spend an average of 492 minutes a day consuming media in 2015. That figure rose 1.4% from 485 in 2015, and was driven by an 11.8% increase in Internet use.

The report analyzed the changing patterns of media consumption in 65 countries worldwide, examining the amount of time people spent using the Internet, reading newspapers and magazines, watching television, listening to radio, going to the movies, and looking at outdoor advertising (billboards and signage) outside the home.

It’s perhaps no surprise that these gains in media consumption were driven by large leaps in Internet usage; between 2010 and 2014 the amount of time people spent online nearly doubled from 59.6 to 109.5 minutes a day, with mobile tech opening up new avenues for devouring content on-the-go. The report predicts that media consumption will only continue to rise worldwide, reaching 506 minutes a day by 2017.

Even while experiencing relatively small declines, television continues to dominate global media consumption, accounting for 42.4% of global media consumption. Meanwhile, between 2010 and 2014 the average time people spent reading newspapers (in their traditional print form) fell by 25.6%. Among the report’s other eye-popping stats: Latin America leads the world in media consumption by a wide margin, with people spending an average of 744 minutes consuming media in 2014 (that’s nearly twelve and a half hours, folks); and it’s lowest in Asia Pacific, with a 301-minute per person average (about enough time to watch the first two Godfather films; skip the third).

Obviously, the implication and opportunities these statistics suggest for brands and advertisers are enormous. “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,” says Jonathan Barnard, ZenithOptimedia’s Head of Forecasting. “Technology also enables brands to communicate and learn from consumers in new ways.”

The ZenithOptimedia report is revelatory; certainly required reading for anyone working in media. Perhaps the most profound question it raises is this: what does it mean that the average person spends half his or her waking life consuming content? “You are what you eat,” the old physician’s saw goes. If we’re watching, reading, listening, consuming eight hours of stuff a day, Marshall McLuhan’s prophesy, “the medium is the message” has truly come to fruition.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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