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Consumers Spending More in Paid Media Than Ad Supported: VSS Study

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The annual VSS media survey/forecast is out, and some usual suspects about declining media and ad spend. But more interestingly, according to the study, picked up by the NYT, consumers last year for the first time spent more time with media they paid for, like books or cable TV, than with primarily ad-supported media, like newspapers and magazines. That means people are willing to pay for content, just not all types of content. The money quote from the “S” in VSS, John Suhler: “While we have seen consumer media usage remain generally flat over the past year, the way in which consumers are spending their time continues to evolve. No longer are newspaper and magazine-subscription purchases and network prime-time viewing the norm. Instead, they are declining and consumers are spending more time with media which they support and pay for as opposed to ad-supported media…This development is a culmination of two decades of this secular shift towards consumer-controlled media, and shows no signs of slowing.

6 Responses to “Consumers Spending More in Paid Media Than Ad Supported: VSS Study”

  1. Kathryn Koegel

    I wouldn't delve too deeply into the paid content model of cable: the cost per sub most cable nets are getting for is at an all time low and their ad load (# of ad minutes per hour ) at an all time high. Also thought the release yesterday that young families are lowering their cable subs to basic and have figured out how to connect their PCs to their TVs to in effect create their own kid friendly networks has interesting implications for the industry. Until Hulu and YouTube switch to a paid model…

  2. Yes! Finally someone has given us some data proving that paid content is not a"dime-and-nickle" exploitation of users' needs or "a monopoly forced by an external agent," as Clay Shirky has been claiming for years (without any evidence; just his "theory"), but a logical business model. More, it is not even an alternative to the ad-supported model — it seems to be a better, more popular model that generates real cashflow. Ha! Finally!

  3. Rafat, I don't understand this statistic: "In five years, ad spending in mags will finally rebound, after five years of decline, but at $9.8 billion, it will still be nowhere near the $12.9 billion it was in 2008."

    What do those numbers relate to? Advertising spending in *consumer* magazines? b-to-b? combined?

    While I do not argue with the trend line or the predictions, I think the numbers look a little small for the *total* amount spent on advertising in magazines.

    And, as always, I'll note that the magazine format is used by advertisers in ways other than "advertising pages in magazines" — i.e., custom publishing.