We now spend more than eight hours a day consuming media


If you weren’t reading this article, you would probably be scanning something else on the internet, watching TV, or maybe—just maybe—reading a newspaper or magazine. In short, you would be consuming media.

On average, people spend more than 490 minutes of their day with some sort of media, according to a new report by ZenithOptimedia. Television remains dominant, accounting for three hours of daily consumption—an hour more than the internet, in second place. (The report measures media consumed in its traditional form—for example, broadcasts on television sets and newspapers in print. Watching videos on the web or reading a newspaper’s website counts as internet consumption.)


By 2017, we will find even more time in the day to take in media—half of our waking life is apparently not enough—with global average consumption set to rise to 506 minutes, according to ZenithOptimedia.

It’s no surprise that the internet, particularly in mobile form, is driving this growth. Average daily internet media consumption has doubled over the past five years, taking share from traditional formats. The internet accounted for 13% of average daily media use in 2010, but is set to reach nearly 30% in 2017. (Print publishers might want to avert their eyes from the chart below.)


The somewhat surprising rise in outdoor media consumption—billboards and the like—is down to the building of more displays, and urbanization in emerging markets, ZenithOptimedia says. It’s also an encouraging sign that we’re not all becoming shut-ins, and that we’re glancing up from our smartphones every once in a while when out and about.

In terms of geography, Latin Americans spend nearly 13 hours per day with some sort of media, the most of any region by some distance:


On top of average consumption of television and the internet, the average Latin American listens to almost three hours of radio programming every day, well above other regions. Meanwhile, the typical Middle Eastern media diet is heavy on the internet, with just under five hours a day spent with web media. North Americans continue to lead the world in the time they spend in front of the TV, at around five hours per day.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search