STAMFORD, CT: US consumer media usage and exposure, including all digital and traditional media, edged up 0.3% to an average 70.7 hours a week in 2017, according to a new report, but time spent with ad-supported media declined.

The fifth edition of PQ Media’s Global Consumer Media Usage & Exposure Forecast predicted a further 1.2% rise in 2018, fuelled by cross-channel viewing of the just-finished Winter Olympics and upcoming political campaigns in the fall’s mid-term elections.

Digital media usage and exposure accounted for 37.4% of all US consumer time spent with media in 2017, capturing nearly 13 share points from traditional media in the 2011-17 period, as consumers shift to wireless devices and mobile media.

Mobile audio was the fastest-growing digital channel in the US, as consumer time spent streaming music downloads and listening to radio via digital subscription services, such as Spotify, rose more than 30%, according to PQ Media.

And for the first time, aggregate mobile media usage (at 9.1 hours per week) surpassed that of internet media (8.1 hours per week) in 2017.

The report added that key indicators point to decelerating mobile and, consequently, overall digital media growth in the next several years, as wireless device penetration nears saturation, consumers wait longer to upgrade smartphones and fewer end users purchase first-time computer tablets.

But even as overall time spent consuming media is growing, the share of time spent with ad-supported media is declining.

PQ Media’s figures, reported by MediaPost, indicate this figure fell to 44.4% in 2017 and is expected to deteriorate to 42.5% by 2021, as people turn to subscription video and audio services.

Predictions that time spent with ad-supported media could fall as low as 30% were discounted by PQ Media, whose analysts observed more advertising shifting to new forms that do not necessarily fit easily in existing categories, such as brand integrations and content marketing.

Nor is the US experience replicated around the world: according to PQ Media, ad-supported media globally accounted for 66.5% of time spent with media in 2017 and will still claim 63.4% in 2021.

Sourced from PQ Media, MediaPost; additional content by WARC staff