65 Days in Front of the TV

The U.S. Census Bureau's new statistical abstract for 2007 forecasts how the "average" adult or teen will use media in the year ahead:
  • 65 Days watching television
  • 41 days listening to radio
  • A week listening to recorded music
  • In excess of a week on the Internet
  • 7 days reading a daily newspaper
It's always dangerous to describe the "average" adult or teen, but be that as it may, you can adjust the numbers any way you like and they are still scary.

Because all adults are being factored in to the projections, Internet usage is lower than most of us using a computer right now might think. So it's not much of a stretch to imagine that number higher and, say, TV watching lower for heavy Internet users. I don't think a week of your time reading a newspaper each year would describe a college student who might get his or her news online. I'm fine with all this.

But is life so boring that the "average" American media consumer gives up 65 days a year watching television? We really do need to get a life.

Some 41 days listening to the radio is just the excuse consolidators need to continue with the status quo and not deal with an eroding younger audience. There is no doubt radio is a big part of some people's lives, but would you give up 41 days of it to have a radio in your ear? Apparently, according to the Census Bureau a lot of people do.

There's much to be said for multitasking in light of all this. To be able to watch TV, listen to radio and be on the Internet could get you a life again.

Not reported, but of interest, would be cellular telephone use (voice, texting and other services). Can you imagine what these numbers will be in the mobile future as America and the world embrace their mobile phones?

At the heart of our passion for media -- we can't seem to get enough -- is the need for content. It has been about content from the beginning and dating way back to Marconi. Only in the age of the Internet and media consolidation has technology distracted so many executives from concentrating on their real mission. I've said it in the past but Ill reiterate it now, media companies should embrace new technology not fight it. They should always look for ways to present more meaningful content and opportunities for marketing.

Winning the eyes and ears of all these "average" people will take above average content.