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Data: Media consumption declines in US

January 31, 2023

Attest, the consumer research platform, has released the findings from the latest edition of its Quarterly US Media Consumption Tracker, providing continuous insights into how Americans’ habits across television, audio, news, and social media continue to evolve.

For Q4, Attest found that consumption of all media types fell.

TV & Streaming Trends 

  • Perhaps as a result of the cost of living crisis, subscription TV services of all types appeared to suffer in Q.4. Just over 15 per cent of Americans say they don’t use any TV subscription services now, up +2.8 percentage points since October 2022.
  • This is reflected in the decline in weekly users seen among subscription services. Disney+ experienced the biggest loss, with the number of people who use the platform at least once a week dropping by -5.4 percentage points to 32.3 per cent.
  • Hulu’s weekly users also declined by -4.6 percentage points to 42.6 per cent, alongside YouTube TV’s, which fell -3.9 percentage points to 19.1 per cent. And Apple TV’s burgeoning grasp on the market suffered a blow with a -3.8 percentage point drop to 12 per cent. Meanwhile, Netflix and Prime Video both suffered small losses but clung on to their positions as America’s top two TV streaming platforms.
  • Peacock was the only service (out of the 15 Attest measured) to enjoy a notable boost in weekly users: up +3.4 percentage points to 29.5 per cent. Paramount saw a tiny increase, helping to maintain its 25.5 per cent market share. This performance was aided by the success of its hit show Yellowstone, which was named as the most popular of the quarter.

Social Media Trends

  • Daily usage of some of the biggest social media sites took a plunge during Q4.
    • Instagram chalked up the biggest loss, with the percentage of Americans who use the platform every day falling -8.7 percentage points to 33.7 per cent.
    • The number of daily Facebook users also fell by -7 percentage points to 56.0 per cent, while Snapchat saw an -8.1 percentage point loss (to 20.4 per cent). Additionally, a swathe of people have stopped using the app altogether: 50.9 per cent of Americans say they use Snapchat to some degree, down by -7.3 percentage points on the previous quarter.
    • The consistent growth enjoyed by TikTok was also curtailed in Q.4, with a -5.5 percentage point decrease in daily users to 29.2 per cent. The platform also lost users: usership decreased by -6.9 percentage points to 61.1 per cent.
  • One platform that does show an upward trend is newcomer BeReal. Although its market penetration is still small, US usership has grown by +12.5 percentage points in the last quarter to 27.7 per cent.

Audio Trends 

  • The fourth quarter was also a period of decline for audio, with listening frequency down across all mediums. The number of Americans who listen to radio daily fell by -3 percentage points to 34.7 per cent, and streamed music saw a similar decline to 39.3 per cent daily listeners.
  • Meanwhile, the number of people listening to audiobooks weekly took a -5.4 percentage point plunge to 21.1 per cent, while podcasts held a little firmer: 38.4 per cent listen to them weekly. However, Attest does see a reshuffle in the most popular podcast subjects. News & politics fell by -6.7 percentage points, alongside sport, which declined by -5.1 percentage points (around 19 per cent of podcast listeners showed interest in these topics). Comedy (27 per cent) and true crime podcasts (25.3 per cent) are now the most listened to.
  • In addition, none of the six music streaming platforms in Attest’s survey recorded growth in weekly listeners. Spotify saw the biggest loss, with weekly listeners falling by -3.1 percentage points to 40 per cent. This movement put YouTube Music back in first place as America’s favorite music streaming platform (41.1 per cent).

Media (Print & Digital)

  • Accessing content digitally declined in popularity according to Attest’s new data. The number of Americans visiting news websites or apps each week fell by -1.9 percentage points to 57.8 per cent, while weekly readership of digital magazines dropped by -2.7 percentage points to 30.3 per cent.
  • People are also reading printed newspapers less frequently than in Q.3: the number of people reading them weekly has decreased by -5.6 percentage points to 26.5 per cent. Printed magazines saw a similar decline, with weekly readers falling -4.2 percentage points to 25.5 per cent.
  • On the plus side, news media content subscriptions appear to be holding up despite the pressure of paying for Christmas and the rising cost of living. Nearly 39 per cent of Americans are paying for subscriptions to news media, which is only slightly down on the previous quarter.

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