Keeping up with how consumers choose to access their favourite content is a headache for media planners, given today's proliferation of media channels.
But an exclusive Media Week study, conducted with Lightspeed Research, provides the most up-to-date breakdown of how consumers prefer to receive their favourite programming.
The survey canvassed 2,000 people to determine which media people turn to most often, given the choice between print (magazines and newspapers), radio, TV (real time and interactive), the internet (general, viewing and listening) and mobile.
For the first time, media planners can assess media consumption at a glance, broken down by category into news, sports, film and TV, radio/music and entertainment.
The results are surprising. Traditional TV still rules the roost, with consumers turning to the box in the corner as the default option for a range of information. Indeed, traditional media still outstrips the internet for news, entertainment and sports results, with TV the most-used and print and radio competing for second choice.
However, although online broadcast consumption remains slight by comparison, this trend looks set to take off sharply over the next 12 months, raising major challenges for both advertisers and their agencies. The number of people who prefer to access sports content on the internet is already double that of radio.
David Day, chief executive, Europe, Lightspeed Research, says: "These are dramatic shifts in the way people are consuming media. Past debate has concerned the extent that internet content is going to erode broadcast content. That's starting to happen."
Meanwhile, mobile use is low due to perceived "intrusive" advertising. However, Day believes that media consumption via mobile will pick up as mobile internet penetration increases and handset technology improves.
The shift in modern media consumption brings opportunities as well as challenges. If planners can adjust their thinking in line with the following findings, the potential payouts, in terms of reach and targeting, could be immense.
Below are highlights from the research. For full details of the research see the 11 September edition of Media Week.
More than one in five respondents said they spend less time watching news headlines on TV than 12 months ago - the biggest drop-off in media usage after Teletext. The shift backs up the general trend towards searching for instant results online While time spent online spending newspapers and blogs was still low compared with more traditional media in particular TV, the internet has experienced the biggest growth, suggesting this is the shape of things to come.
When it comes to searching out match results, consumers are using their mobile less, in favour of the internet.
Mobile is fast moving up the food chain as the medium of choice for consumers seeking the latest Big Brother news or celebrity gossip. The small screen lends itself particularly well to bite-sized snippets of information, leaving TV tailing off as a favoured source of updates. This was the one area that also saw an increase in the use of the red button. Among traditional media, print alone holds firm - good news for publishers of weekly listings and celebrity magazines.
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Newspapers such as the Financial Times, TV programmes such as Newsnight and even Radio 4's Today programme all bank on consumers' need for analysis, as well as news to keep them tuning in. But increasingly, people are finding that information online. However, it's not all bad news for traditional media owners, if they can hang on to this migrating audience through brand extension websites such as FT.com
Lightspeed Research, part of WPP, undertook a survey for Media Week on its proprietary online GB panel to analyse respondents' media consumption habits. The survey was completed online by 2,000 adults who were nationally representative of the Great British population in terms of age, gender, social class and region. The survey was undertaken between 10 and 16 July 2007.
Lightspeed Research is a global interactive data solutions provider, delivering market research results through global panels. It provides access to household members across 34 countries in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. Lightspeed Research's deeply profiled proprietary panels are recruited and maintained to ensure quality and representative sampling, providing clients with high-quality research results. www.lightspeedresearch.com
This article was first published on Media Week