Initial assumptions often get turned upside-down when someone decides to poke into the data and see what’s really happening. Such is the case with media usage – and in a startling way.
Our initial assumption was that digital media was so alluring, pervasive and efficient that it would suck time from all legacy media channels.
As it turns out, that assumption was about as accurate as the notion that the office PC would actually reduce the amount of paper we use.
Welcome to the age of the Digital Omnivore. It’s not a new breed. It’s a societal evolution in which the world simply contains more fast-food information outlets, and people engage in a daylong graze.
Prepping speakers for #LOAC2013 (see the agenda here), I spoke last week with the one person
You might think would espouse the rise of digital media and corresponding decline of newspapers, TV, radio and yellow pages. It was Gian Fulgoni, co-founder and chairman of comScore, the 15-year-old company at the forefront of Internet measurement. Gian still sees an important role for traditional media.
“One of the things that blew my mind was that if you give someone a smart phone, there’s no evidence it will cannibalize their use of the PC,” he told me. “In fact, consumption goes up across all devices.” Hold on. Hand someone a smart phone and media usage goes up? Across all devices?
It’s true, and comScore has compelling evidence that indicates that digital media consumption isn’t a zero-sum game. That is, people don’t necessarily subtract time from one medium when they decide to use another.
Gian described comScore research for NBC tracking 720 people who were following the Olympics. The most startling revelations:
- Of those who only watched TV coverage, the total time spent per day with TV was 4 hours, 19 minutes.
- Of those accessing Olympics coverage on multiple devices (TV, smartphone, tablet and PC), the total time spent with all devices was 8 hours and 29 minutes – twice as much.
- And the crazy-big aha: Of the multi-platform users, the average time spent they spent watching TV was . . . 6 hours, 7 minutes – or 88% more than those who just watched the Olympics on TV without using digital media.
“You can’t really think of siloed media anymore,” Gian said. “This is a multiplatform world.”
This leaves one big question. If all these people are spending more time with media, where are they taking it from? It’s an intriguing question, and I suspect Gian will be offering more insights when he presents at the 2013 Local Online Advertising Conference March 4-5 in New York.