What a difference two years make.
More has changed in media consumption over the last two years than in the 30 years that proceeded it, Bruce Friend, president of Ipsos OTX MediaCT said at the TheWrap’s Grill Conference on Monday night.
Citing a new Ipsos OTX study of 7,000 online consumers ages 13 to 74, Friend said that thanks to smartphones and laptops, people are now spending one-half of their waking days interacting with media, and have increased their media consumption by an hour per day over the last two years.
That’s more time than they spend working or sleeping.
“Communicating is now entertaining, and entertainment is communication,” Friend (photographed at TheGrill by Jonathan Alcorn) told TheWrap earlier in the day. “The speed at which things can be delivered thanks to broadband, and the ways it can be delivered, with DVR and VOD, mean that the speed of change has ramped up in an unprecedented way.”
And this rabid consumption only stands to intensify as second-generation devices become more ubiquitous. According to the study, 24 percent of people now own a web-enabled smartphone, while cellphone ownership has fallen from 81 percent to 65 percent since 2009.
That’s been critical because smartphone owners spend 30 minutes more a day on interacting with media compared to non-smartphone owners.
This migration to portable web-enabled devices could have long term consequences for the television industry, the study said. Television watching increasingly takes place over the internet, particularly with regard to primetime viewership. Nearly a third of the combined TV/online primetime usage now takes place online.
“The great news for TV is that it is not dying and consumption is not declining, but the ways in which people are consuming it are shifting,” Friend said.
Indeed, the barriers between traditional TV, DVR, and video-on-demand are rapidly vanishing. Watching television live still commands 78 percent of the total hours viewed, but almost a quarter of TV viewing today occurs through a mixture of DVR, VOD, and online video — an increase of 49 percent year-to-year.
In addition to the growing dominance of smartphones and laptops, the rise of social networking sites is contributing to the enormous appetite for media. Fifty-six percent of those included in the study visited Facebook and/or MySpace daily and spent almost a half-hour there playing games,creating and sharing content.
“These changes put the premium on good content, because content is the medium now,” Friend said. “Content is its own media platform, and instead of worrying about timeslots, companies would do well to attach ads to content so it lives and thrives with it in a meaningful way.”
One thing not taken fully into account was the dawn of tablets — the Apple iPad had only been available for a few weeks at the time of the study. As that device becomes more popular and competitors rush to offer their own products, Friend said that tablets could dramatically alter media consumption.
“Tablet-based online devices are going to potentially have a huge impact on this ecosystem. It will all depend on the speed of adoption,” Friend said.