Smartphones Surpass TV in Time Spent with Media

Daily Screen Use in U.S. Per Person - Millward Brown study
U.S. Daily Screen Use, Per Person – Millward Brown study

Maybe you knew it was coming, maybe you thought it never would.  New data reveals that, for the first time, Americans are spending more time on mobile devices than watching TV. Millward Brown’s 2014 AdReaction study says Americans spend 151 minutes per day on their smartphones, vs. 147 minutes each day watching TV.

And it’s not just in the U.S.  Users are spending more time with smartphones than with TV in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil and Vietnam (Advertising Age).  In China, consumers spend nearly twice as much time using their smartphones than watching TV. And the latest estimates from eMarketer show that in 2014, time spent with digital media (desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones) will outpace time spent with TV in the U.K.

Consumers are now spending more time with smartphones than with TV — but many are also watching multiple screens simultaneously. Millward Brown classifies multi-screen watching into two main categories: ‘stacking’ is when the content on TV and mobile are unrelated, and ‘meshing’ is when the consumer is following the same content on both mobile and TV (ex. making comments or searching for info about the show currently being watched).

Only 30% of screen time in the U.S. is spent ‘meshing,’ just half of Thailand’s 60%.  Other countries with higher rates of ‘meshing’ screen time than the U.S. include China, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea.

The survey also looked at consumer receptivity to mobile ads, revealing that “global smartphone users are also noticeably open to watching short videos” (Advertising Age).

In terms of ad spending, time spent on mobile devices is increasing at faster rate than mobile ad spending, although the latter did rise 105% in 2013. This year, mobile ad spending will account for nearly one-quarter of total digital ad spending worldwide.

Millward Brown surveyed more than 12,000 mobile users in 30 different countries, between the ages of 16 and 44, examining consumption of ads over TVs, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Check out the infographic accompanying the report here.