America on a media diet?

A recent industry report from Veronis Suhler Stevenson suggests that American consumers consumed .5% less media in 2006 than the year before. Are Americans tuning out or are they just tuning in more carefully?

Today's Boston Herald reports that Americans consumed less media in 2006 than they did the year before. Are we losing interest in media or are we just becoming more efficient consumers?

The Herald cites an industry study that concluded that media use dropped 0.5 percent to 3,530 hours per person in 2006. The report was generated by Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a private equity firm, which concluded that "The drop in consumer media usage was driven by the continued migration of consumers to digital alternatives for news, information and entertainment, which require less time investment than their traditional media counterparts." The study predicts that media usage will level off during this year and then continue to rise through 2011.

I don't know how significant the decrease is, but the study does indicate that we're becoming more adept at finding the content we are looking for and have more time as a result. This is great news and demonstrates the effect that internet media is having on media as a whole. It's much quicker to peruse than it is to watch an hour of Headline News. In theory, this may mean that we as a culture will be more informed. In practice it probably means that we'll just spend more time watching reality TV.

On the other hand, business and government consumption increased 3.2 percent so either rich media has finally taken root in the private and public sector, or maybe they just make up most of the the five million people that have watched prisoners dancing to Thriller.
About the author

    Josh Wolf first became interested in the power of the press after writing and distributing a screed against his high school's new dress code. Within a short time, the new dress code was abandoned, and ever since then he's been getting his hands dirty deconstructing the media every step of the way. Wolf recently became the longest-incarcerated journalist for contempt of court in U.S. history after he spent 226 days in federal prison for his refusal to cooperate. In Media sphere, Josh shares his daily insights on the developing information landscape and examines how various corporate and governmental actions effect the free press both in the United States and abroad.


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