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Summary:

A new report predicts that this year for the first time ever, people will spend more time with digital media than watching television.

Old TVs
photo: Shutterstock / Pixel 4 Images

Remember the good old days spent gathered around the TV for some major cultural event, like the Olympics, the Super Bowl or the last episode of Seinfeld? According to a new report, those days are officially over.

The report from eMarketer says that this year for the first time, people in the U.S. will spend more time with digital media per day than with TV. According to eMarketer’s estimates, the average adult will spend over 5 hours a day online, compared to 4 hours and 31 minutes watching television. That would be a slight decrease from last year for daily TV time,  and about a 16% rise for digital media consumption.

emarketer study

What’s with the shift? Mobile, mostly. This is the first time eMarketer has included time spent with smartphones and tablets in its overall digital time figure. But either way, there has been more than a 30-minute increase in time spent with digital media each year since 2010, when the average amount of time spent online was 3 hours and 14 minutes.

It should also be noted that the majority of mobile time is being spent on smartphones, at 1 hour and 7 minutes per day, with tablets close behind at 1 hour and 3 minutes. Since 2010, mobile activity has grown from just 24 minutes per day to a whopping 2 hours and 21 minutes.

Of course, a lot of this is due to the increased availability and usage of smartphones and tablets, but also because we lead increasingly mobile lives. For many people, being online means just another day at the office. And really, who has enough time to sit down and watch an entire game when you can just catch the highlights on YouTube the next day?

This is a really interesting study, and one that I find certainly holds true for me. If these trends continue, traditional television will go the way of the LaserDisc.

  1. No way watching a movie or show on an iPad (or other tablet) will replace watching on a 60-inch TV.

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    1. I think this study considers reading this webpage to be “consuming digital media.” It’s not just video.

      If so, then the change of getting your news of the web as opposed to the TV or a print newspaper is also driving this change.

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  2. This is very revealing information Alex. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues over the forthcoming years, one suspects that it will.

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  3. Ah, no.

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  4. Well you can see a movie on a tablet, but i really dont think that you can have that much fun and feel over a few inch of screen and limited sound

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  5. Matthew Weston Monday, August 5, 2013

    I agree with having movies on a big screen.

    I’d happily sit and watch netflix on a tablet though. Especially when the rest of my family doesn’t like what i watch.

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