Mass consumption

Mass consumption: In a story for TV Week, Joe Mandese reports on some punditry from Veronis Suhler projecting that by 2007 the average American will spend 3,874 hours per year with the major consumer media, according to “Investment Considerations for the Communications Industry,” a report released last week by investment banker Veronis Suhler Stevenson. That would mark an increase of 792 hours per year, or 21 percent, from the 3,082 hours per year that the average person spent using consumer media in 1977, the year that VSS first began tracking such behavior.”

Okay, let’s do the math:

Assuming one devotes at least 8 hours per day sleeping (or at least preparing for and attempting to), that leaves 16 hours per day of being awake. Okay, so we have around 5,840 (16 x 365 = 5,840) waking hours a year for doing whatever we do when we’re not sleeping. So, if VSS is correct, we’ll be “consuming major media” for 3,874 of those hours (or, 10.6 hours each day), leaving us 1,966 hours (5.4 per day) to do everything else we do. So, according to this analysis, we’ll be spending nearly twice as much time consuming mass media as we spend doing all other things we may do combined. As consumed by mass media as I am, this “projection” just doesn’t add up.

Not likely.


  • Hudge

    If you factor in personal internet use at the office, that’s 7 hours a day right there, so it’s entirely possible….

  • Rex Hammock

    Funny, Bill. But you do bring up a point. Does VSS consider using the Internet during work as “consuming media”…if so, they should add talking on the phone and any time you spend glancing out your window as there is an outdoor advertisement in your field of vision. And, if you chat with someone during breakfast or supper, that’s “consuming” mass media, too, I guess…at least, if there’s a cereal box sitting nearby.

  • David Shaw

    I’d agree that the baseline consumption figures that VSS uses are probably high, but if I consider my own habits from 1977 to the present, I’d agree that my media consumption has increased incredibly–mainly because of technological enablement of multitasking. I’m listening to the radio while I type this, for example. And when I watch television (not as often as I used to), I tend to have a book or magazine going at the same time. If enough people multitask, we’ll soon find that we–like attorneys–can “bill” more than 24 hours a day of media consumption time.