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U.S. Adults Now Spending More Time on Digital Devices Than Watching TV

Digital Devices Now Get More Than Five Hours Per Day, According to eMarketer

By Published on . 7

American adults this year will for the first time spend more time each day using digital media than watching TV, according to a new report by eMarketer.

Adults in the U.S. are averaging five hours and nine minutes daily with digital media, up from four hours and 31 minutes last year and three hours and 50 minutes in 2011. The amount of time they spend watching TV has essentially stayed flat in that time period. It was pegged at four hours and 31 minutes this year, down slightly from four hours and 38 minutes in 2012.

Overall, the amount of time spent consuming media in all its forms -- digital, TV, radio and print -- is cranking ever upward, though radio and print are dropping off, according to eMarketer. U.S. adults are spending an average of 11 hours and 52 minutes every day with media, up 13 minutes from last year.

The surge in digital consumption has predictably been driven by mobile. U.S. adults now spend an average of two hours and 21 minutes per day using their mobile devices for activities other than phone calls, up 46 minutes from last year.

Time spent on smartphones, tablets and feature phones now also exceeds time spent on PCs, which clocked in at two hours and 19 minutes. The figure for PC use may seem low to any office worker who spends most days in front a computer screen, but eMarketer is taking all U.S. adults into account, some 20% of which still don't use the internet, according to Clark Fredrickson, VP-communications at the research firm.

The figures account for time spent with every unique medium, regardless of the overlap in consumption. Thus, people watching a basketball game while simultaneously continually tweeting about it from their tablets would count for two hours spent watching TV and two hours spent using a mobile device.

To produce the report, eMarketer aggregated data points from more than 40 research institutions, including audience measurement companies, academic institutions and online media companies.

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