Marketing Impact in a Multi-Screen World

Josh GordonA recently published research brief from the Center For Media Research, introduced several fascinating cultural shifts in how people in the U.S. consume media. Perhaps the most interesting revelation is the comparison between the second quarter of 2008 (pre-recession) and the second quarter of 2009 (recession). A natural conclusion may be that more consumers watched television, but fewer consumers invested in new technologies to achieve a different access point to content formerly reserved only for television.

That assumption is incorrect. According to the research, watching television at home only ticked up 0.9% from 2008 to 2009, while investment in new technology to access the content increased. For example, while actual television viewing did not dramatically increase, watching time shifted TV (read: DVR and TIVO), was up 32.2%. Internet usage increased 19.4% (including a 12.4% increase in watching video online). Mobile phone usage did not increase dramatically, either, ticking up only 0.5%. However, mobile phone users increased their video consumption on the mobile device 70%.

While the “gut feel” of shifting media consumption habits is likely present for many of us in the industry, and developed in part by our own shifting consumption habits, seeing the actual quantitative data is fascinating. For the big picture, these findings – while many of us may have intuitively recognized that video content consumption habits are shifting – the increasing level of technology adoption, despite comprising economic conditions, is a positive indicator for the future of direct digital marketing.

And, the news gets better.

The percent of people watching television and using the Internet simultaneously is up nearly 57%. It is interesting to note that of the traditional “three screen” consumer world – television, computers/Internet, and mobile devices – the Internet is showing the highest increase in use.

One last conclusion of note – the fastest growing demographics of Internet users are not the college students or moms, they are older demographics and the extremely young demos of kids with ages ranging from 2-11. Keep a careful eye on privacy rules and legislation on Capitol Hill as it pertains to the increasing adoption among the youngest demo. With momentum already behind self-regulation of network behavioral targeting technologies, a renewed effort to shield children from targeting efforts is likely.

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