November 25, 2014

New Report From USC on Past, Current, and Future Media Consumption by Americans

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From the USC Marshall School of Business News Release:

Americans consume an enormous amount of media daily via television, radio, phone and computer. As you read this article on the Internet, perhaps while checking the text messages on your smartphone or listening to satellite radio, that statement undoubtedly rings true. But exactly how much media flows to individuals and households in a year?

Try 6.9 zettabytes — that’s 6.9 million MILLION gigabytes.

This massive U.S. media consumption is the topic of “How Much Media? 2013 Report on American Consumers,” produced by the Institute for Communications Technology Management (CTM) at the USC Marshall School of Business and CTM Visiting Researcher James E. Short.

The report looks at media consumption by individuals in and out of the home, excluding the workplace, between 2008 and 2015, breaking “media” down into 30 categories of media type and delivery (e.g. television, social media, computer gaming). Information reported in the study was canvassed from several hundred data sources, including media measurement firms such as Neilsen, Arbitron, ComScore, investor and analyst firms, government sources and foundation and research publications.

Growth From 2008-2012

  • U.S. media consumption totaled 3.5 zettabytes, an average of 33 gigabytes per consumer per day (One byte is one character of text. A gigabyte is 109 bytes. A zettabyte is 1021 bytes.). By 2012, total U.S. consumption had increased to 6.9 zettabytes, an average of 63 gigabytes per person per day. Put another way, researcher Short said, if we printed 6.9 zettabytes of text in books, and stacked those books as tightly as possible across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, the pile would be almost 14 feet high.
  • In 2008, Americans talked, viewed and listened to media for 1.3 trillion hours, an average of 11 hours per person per day. By 2012, total consumption had increased to 1.46 trillion hours, an average of 13.6 hours per person per day, representing a year over year growth rate of 5%.

2015: What’s Ahead

  • By 2015, the data indicate that Americans will consume media for more than 1.7 trillion hours, an average of approximately 15.5 hours per person per day. The amount of media delivered will exceed 8.75 zettabytes annually, or 74 gigabytes — 9 DVDs worth — of data sent to the average consumer on an average day.
  • Mobile messaging hours, which in 2012 accounted for approximately 9% of voice call hours, will double to over 18% of voice hours, a year over year growth rate of more than 27%.
  • Viewing video on the Internet averaged less than 3 hours a month in 2008; by 2012, viewing time increased to almost 6 hours a month, a year over year growth rate of 21%. By 2015, the report projects that Americans will be watching video for almost 11 hours a month, a compound annual growth rate of 24% a year.
  • From 2008 to 2015, total annual hours for users of Facebook and YouTube will grow from 6.3 billion hours to 35.2 billion hours, a year over year growth rate of 28%.

Direct to Complete News Release

Direct to Executive Summary

Full Text access is free but requires users to complete a very simple registration form that’s found on the right column of the exec. summary page.

Note: The news release and full text report include numerous color charts.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.