American Media Consumption

Americans are spending more time consuming media content, not less. What’s changing is how they use it and the growing consumption taking place on digital platforms. Those are among the topline findings of Nielsen’s third-quarter Total Audience Report, formerly called the Cross-Platform Report. Smartphone penetration has reached 75%, a 15% jump over the same period last year. Nearly half of Americans own a tablet, up 59% from one year earlier. “Content is still king, but consumers are shaping their own content-discovery experience, and the evolving media landscape has not lessened consumer demand for quality, professionally-produced content,” says Nielsen SVP of insights Dounia Turrill. “What has changed is the number and reliability of new media available to viewers.” The study’s most profound findings have to do with how Americans are using TV. According to an analysis by Brian Wieser, total year-over-year TV viewing, including live TV plus time-shifting, fell 4% in the third quarter, twice as fast as the secondquarter’s 2% decline. The fall-offs were much more severe among younger audiences. The study also shines a light on a multicultural America with differing media habits. Blacks, for instance, spend 61 hours a month with AM/FM radio compared to 58 hours for Hispanics and 59 hours for the total population.


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