"It's a wonderful finding," said Mitch Lurin, president of Mendelsohn Media Research and chief architect of its Affluent Survey. "We've been doing this for 30 years, and we know a wonderful finding when we see one."
The survey tracks how affluent Americans are spending their time and money with an emphasis on media consumption, but stock market and vacation habits are also tracked.
Looking at the top quarter of U.S. households -- those with incomes of $85,000 or higher -- this year's survey found they are consuming more magazines and cable TV than before. Compared with last year's survey findings, the average number of publications read increased to 6.9 from 6.2, and the average number of cable stations viewed among total increased to 9.5 from 9.4, with cable viewership among the affluent set increasing from 88.2% to 89.0%.
What magazines and cable channels have benefited from the increased media consumption? The top publications with the largest average issue audience increases included People, House & Garden, Time, Sports Illustrated, Southern Living and National Geographic. Cable channel counterparts included Food Network, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, National Geographic Channel, HBO and A&E.
Basic trends from the survey's findings are hard to figure, given that the base level of income increases every several years, though a basic finding of the survey is that as the affluent population gets more affluent, they read more magazines and watch less TV. For example, last year's survey found that those who earned $85,000 to $99,000 read 6.4 magazines and watched 23.3 hours of cable TV a week, while those who earned $200,000 or more read 15.3 magazines and watched 19.4 hours of TV a week. This year, said Mr. Lurin, the same trend persisted.