A new study finds that consumers are spending .5 percent less time annually with media this year than one year ago. But what does that mean?
The study won't really tell you definitively. It was from Veronis Suhler Stevenson, who did provide their hypotheses about it--that it was due to digital alternatives taking less time than traditional media and therefore being quicker. It would be interesting to know more about what is and is not considered media, and about what people who would report a declining time spent on media were spending that time on instead...After all, with a finite amount of time in the world, the question is where that time goes to instead.
The study also found, however, that media usage has grown 3.2 percent at work, which also makes sense in relation to a continuing rise in time spent consuming online media. While watching television or listening to the radio while working might be a little more difficult, there's something more private (and easier to hide, if your job requires you hide it) about consuming media online, and being able to look at media in conjunction with work, with multiple windows open on the screen. (That spreadsheet, of course, to pop up when a supervisor walks by.)
Find more about the report here.
People are speculating on what this means. For instance, see David Rothman's post about what this means for book culture. Meanwhile, Adam Broitman questions what this means and why the idea that a move to digital culture explains the differences may be misleading (for instance, pointing out a lack of distinction regarding engagement in relation to this study).
I find the idea somewhat confusing as well. If we expect the amount of time people "consume media" to continually increase, won't people eventually spend more time than there are even hours in a day consuming media? After all, there are natural limits. But this idea of people being more economical interests me particularly. After all, in relation to digital culture, there's more media than ever available, especially in print form. My question is what does and does not constitute media consumption at this point.
If anyone has any suppositions as to how these definitions are laid out, I would love to read them.