by Mike Bloxham
Pretty much however you choose to measure the time we spend with media – whether self-reported, metered, observed or some combination of these – the time the average person spends with media each day has increased markedly. Bearing in mind the explosion of choices and platforms over the last 30 to 40 years, this is entirely understandable. Probably the simplest way to characterize the development of media over that time is to sum it up in one word – more.
As we come to grips with the Attention Economy, the real battle is not merely for time as a simple, and flawed, indicator of attention, but for quality of attention. Only from quality attention can we expect to achieve the most from our communications. In the on-demand, interactive future, even with the continued proliferation of media outlets, total time spent with media is likely to decrease overall due to the continued increase in consumer control of media experiences, but the quality of that time will improve.
The most widely circulated source suggesting any kind of future decline in time spent with media was the Veronis Suhler Stevenson Communications Industry Forecast for 2007-2011. According to this study, the average consumer spent 0.5 percent less time with media in 2006 than in 2005. Not a catastrophic drop, but interesting. VSS concluded that the primary – though not only – factor was the “efficiency” of digital media.
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