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US digital media usage to rise 7.3%

US consumer digital media usage will rise at a 7.3 per cent CAGR in the 2014-19 period to an average of 23.9 hours per week in 2019, more than double the average time spent with digimedia in 2009, according to PQ Media’s annual KPI benchmark series tracking digital and traditional media usage worldwide.

US digital media usage rose 7.1 per cent in 2015 to 18.0 hours weekly, following a 9.6 per cent increase in 2014, driven by higher smartphone and tablet penetration, the launch of new gaming consoles, and the impact of major political and sporting events, according to the new Global Consumer Media Usage & Exposure Forecast 2015-19.

The fastest-growing digital media channel in the US was mobile audio, with consumer usage surging 33.5 per cent in 2015, fuelled by the growing use of music subscription services such as Spotify. Mobile video usage jumped 26.9 per cent, as telecommunications providers like Verizon began offering promotional plans on tablets and smartphones to offset declining data plan prices among its competitors.

PQ Media defines and segments consumer digital media usage consistently across all 15 leading global markets by three broad platform categories (Internet media, mobile media, and other digital media) and 22 specific media channels, including online and mobile video; online and mobile social media; online, mobile and console videogames; over-the-top video and digital out-of-home media, among others.

Digital media usage accounted for 27.7 per cent of overall US media consumption in 2015, up from 17.3 per cent in 2009, as America’s 18.0-hour weekly average led the world in total time spent with digimedia, despite a US computer penetration level that stood at only 80 per cent.

Meanwhile, traditional media usage in the US declined 2.4 per cent in 2015 to 46.8 hours weekly, and it will decrease at a 2.1 per cent CAGR through 2019, a drop of more than 10 hours per week since 2009, according to PQ Media. Television remains the leading combined traditional and digital media silo of choice in the US, with the average consumer viewing 32.4 hours per week, or 50.2 per cent, of all media consumption, driven by the expansion of devices consumers can use to access programming, including TV sets, OTT video, laptop computers and smartphones, accentuated by the increase in scripted shows created for non-TV sets.

“Increasingly, online and mobile media usage is being driven by the digital brand extensions of traditional media, driving up overall media usage as more content is repurposed for digital devices, such as internet and mobile video streaming of TV programmes and movies; online radio stations; web-based multiplayer editions of console videogames; and mobile newspaper and magazine apps,” said PQ Media President & COO Patrick Quinn.

Nevertheless, the increased availability of other media content, such as user-generated content, as well as younger demos watching less TV will result in total TV usage accounting for less than half of all US media consumption in 2017 for the first time since 1953, when radio was the dominant media choice.

Gen-X consumers are the heaviest digital media users in the US, running up an average of 25.3 hours a week in 2015, while the Great Generation are the lightest users at 13.2 hours. End users in the iGen group, the youngest demo, expended 39.5 per cent of their total time spent with media on digital formats, the highest share of all five social generation categories, according to the survey.

Combined digital and traditional media usage in the US inched up 0.1 per cent in 2015 to 64.7 hours per week, and it will rise at a CAGR of 0.7 per cent in the 2015-19 period to 67.0 hours.

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