Time spent with mobile now exceeds TV

  •   October 12, 2019

Americans will spend more time on their smartphones (and tablets) than watching traditional TV, which is broadly defined to include video downloaded from the internet, according to a new forecast from eMarketer. The forecast estimates adults will spend an average of 3 hours, 43 minutes daily on mobile devices, not counting calls, and 3 hours, 35 minutes watching TV.

Audio, social are top mobile activities. Smartphones, specifically, will capture 2 hours and 33 minutes of mobile media time this year. This represents a 9 minute increase over last year according to eMarketer. Video is the “third-biggest driver of growth in mobile app engagement.” Digital audio and social networking are number one and two respectively.

Video heavily consumed, now across devices. While time with traditional TV is declining, audiences are still consuming a lot of video content across devices, OTT in particular. However, when it comes to video, TV still dominates. This year consumers will spend 1 hour, 37 minutes daily with digital video compared with the 3 hours, 35 minutes watching TV.

Why we should care. Mobile beats TV is a sensational headline, but that doesn’t really tell the full story, which is one of a fragmenting video audience and changing medium. The big screen in the living room, family room or bedroom is still the top video consumption device, but increasingly it’s just another digital screen.

Indeed, “TV” is rapidly becoming another digital channel, with the same targeting and attribution capabilities as online video or display. So while mass-audience reach on TV may be declining, better targeting and personalization are increasingly being enabled by the changing video consumption landscape and the digitization of TV.