Published: Sat, June 08, 2019
IT | By Lester Massey

Research: US adults spend more time with mobile than TV

Research: US adults spend more time with mobile than TV

For the first time, USA adults this year will spend more time using their mobile devices than they'll spend watching TV, according to eMarketer Inc.

A study by eMarketer shows the average US adult will spend 3 hours, 43 minutes a day on mobile devices this year, compared to 3 hours and 35 minutes watching TV. However, many broadcasters, cable networks and tech companies have created video apps that show ad insertions during programming. "All of this is driving the need or desire to be on the smartphone". Smartphones' supremacy means that video viewing is shifting from TV sets and onto mobile devices, for example. Last year, American adults spent nine minutes more watching TV than looking at their phones and tablets, eMarketer said. Hulu generated nearly $1.5 billion in ad revenue a year ago, Variety reported, pointing to how many consumers are willing to view some ads if it means lower subscription fees.

The forecast follows other reports, including one by Nielsen, that indicate audiences are spending less time with traditional television.

The majority of that mobile time (70%) will be spent on smartphones, reaching 2:33. "As recently as 2014, the average USA adult watched almost 2 hours more TV than they spent on their phones..."


Over time, eMarketer expects the trend to continue.

eMarketer estimates that the average time spent on mobile devices may eclipse the average time spent watching TV for the first time ever in 2019. According to the company: "eMarketers methodology for its U.S. time spent with media forecast is based on an analysis of 2,265 metrics from 130 sources". Video is the third-biggest driver of growth in mobile app engagement behind listening to digital audio (53 minutes daily) and social networking (43 minutes).

For its TV-watching data, eMarketer's report focused on time spent on TVs that were not internet connected. As more viewers cut the cord, digital video is replacing traditional TV watching time, eMarketer said. "Soon-to-be-released streaming services from Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCU may allow them to monetize their content more effectively".

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