We Spend Half Our Waking Hours Doing It…

And a new study projects that the number of hours we spend at it will continue to grow.

We spend half of our waking lives staring at screens or consuming media in another way. Whether it’s reading online news, checking Facebook, watching television or perusing a book, people around the globe spend more than eight hours each day, on average, consuming some kind of media.

That’s according to a new report from global media agency ZenithOptimedia, which found that people devote about 492 minutes a day to media consumption, up 1.4 percent from 2014.

If you think that’s alarming, get this: The share of our lives we spend in front of a screen will continue to increase, because apparently half of our waking lives is not enough. But it’s really no surprise when you consider that in 2015 alone, Internet use is expected to increase by about 12 percent.

If that trend continues, people will spend about 29 percent of their media time on the Internet by 2017.

“Mobile technology in particular has created new opportunities to consume media, by allowing people to access the Internet while out and about – shopping, commuting to work, waiting to meet friends, and so on,” ZenithOptimedia said.

Currently, we spend the most time in front of the television, which accounts for about three hours of individuals’ daily media consumption (or five hours, if you’re a North American). But according to ZenithOptimedia’s analysis, our TV time is expected to decline at about 2 percent per year, while our Internet use increases.

The report, which analyzed the changing patterns of media consumption in 65 countries, said that traditional media is losing out to competition from the Internet, a trend that will continue into the future. Newspapers and magazines have suffered the most, falling 25 percent and 19 percent, respectively. The report said:

While the Internet has propelled growth in overall media consumption, it has also eroded the consumption of traditional media. The consumption of every traditional medium except outdoor [advertising] (i.e. newspapers, magazines, television, radio and cinema) fell between 2010 and 2014, directly because of competition from the Internet, and we expect their decline to continue to 2017.

“Exposure to outdoor advertising has grown 1 percent since 2010, thanks to an increase in outdoor displays in public spaces, urban migration in emerging markets, and consumers’ greater out-of-home leisure time and disposable income since the financial recovery,” Adweek said.

But according to ZenithOptimedia’s forecast, outdoor exposure to media is not expected to increase in the future.

The majority of my media time is spent online, not in front of the TV. But I guess that’s not the norm, at least not yet.

How much time do you devote to media consumption each day? Do you spend the bulk of your media time with the TV? Share your comments below.

Stacy Johnson

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