Trylon Communications  - September 2004

Media Overload

According to a report from investment banker Veronis Suhler Stevenson, by 2007 the average American will spend 3,874 hours per year with the major consumer media, up 21% over 1997ís figure.

"Consumers have increased their time spent with media substantially over the past 25 years, owing to the almost ubiquitous presence of wired cable in the home, the widespread acceptance of the Internet as a communication/education/home utility and the development of the home video and video game markets," noted the VSS report. And even those numbers may be low.

A researcher at Ball State University followed 101 consumers throughout their day and directly observed how they consumed media and how much media they consumed. It found that the average was more like 11 hours per day of media consumption, a figure that would put us ahead of the projected number for 2007.

What may be most interesting is a related report from a Media Post/Insight Express study that said that almost a third of Americans (29%) feel that they are suffering from media overload, yet at the same time many people (47% of consumers) feel more dependent on media than ever before.

To bring this point home, think about the last time you lost your Internet connection or your cable service blacked out. Or consider how irate you were the last time the paper delivery person failed to deliver your paper. While we feel overwhelmed with information, we crave more.

What does this mean for your PR and marketing strategies? While fragmentation and new information channels would appear to saturate the media market, it seems that the opposite may be occurring. The more choices we have, the more media we consume. This means that there are more opportunities to get the word out to targeted markets.