Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Add It Up

Average Person Spends More Time Using Media than Anything Else

Is this really a surprise?

Here are some key findings from the Ball State University study:
• About 30 percent of the observed waking day was spent with media as the sole activity versus 20.8 percent for work activity, while an additional 39 percent of the day was spent with media while involved in some other activity
• In any given hour no less than 30 percent of those studied were engaged in some way with television, and in some hours of the day that figure rose to 70 percent
• While television is still by far the dominant medium in terms of the time average Americans spend daily with media at 240.9 minutes, the computer has emerged as the second most significant media device at about 120 minutes
• About 30 percent of all media time is spent exposed to more than one medium at a time
• People ages 18 to 24 spend less time online than any other age group except those older than 65
• Levels of concurrent media exposure were higher among those 40 to 65 than people 18 to 39
• Women spend more time multitasking with two or more types of media than men
• Use of the Web, e-mail and phones is substantially higher on Fridays than any other day of the week
So a full 69% of the average day is spent engaged either fully or partly with media. That translates, in a standard 16-hour waking day, to about 11 hours.

Of course, right? Lots of people listen to music at work, whether CDs or a radio that plays in the office. For me, that adds 8 hours a day of media expsoure. And lots of people turn on the TV every morning when they wake up (I read the paper, which still counts) and every night when they get home from work. Americans spend an average of 4 hours a day watching TV--and when I think about it, that's probably not too far off, counting weekends spent watching football and movies on DVD, which bumps up the average.

In fact, I can't believe it's ONLY 69% of the day. For me it's probably every waking minute except the time I spend in the shower at home or walking to and from the bathroom at work. Every other time, I'm either reading a book or newspaper, watching TV, reading online, or listening to music--or doing two or more of those things at once. So more like 96%. Obviously that's not all fully engaged time--I work, and drive, and cook while listening to music, and eat while reading the paper--but I think this is a generational thing. Am I wrong? Or are our lives generally stuffed with media?

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