The 2020 Pandemic drove a dramatic surge in overall media consumption by U.S. viewers. Most of those gains will stick around in 2021, with the exception of traditional TV viewership which is expected to lose all of its 2020 gains, falling below even 2019 levels.

How did the pandemic affect U.S. media consumption in 2020?

A recent report from eMarketer disclosed that U.S. adults increased their time spent consuming media – digital, radio, television, print, and packaged media – by a whopping 58 minutes per day in 2020, setting a new high average of 13 hours, 21 minutes.

While digital media usage, in particular, experienced massive growth, even some traditional media formats – including linear TV and print newspapers – reported growth for the first time in years.

Which media channels will experience continued growth in 2021?

The report found that the increase in overall media consumption will remain relatively steady in 2021. Specifically, U.S. adults are predicted to decrease their time on various media outlets by just 9 minutes per day. The staying power of this level of increased engagement is impressive, especially considering how significant the growth in media consumption was over the pandemic.

Thanks to the rising popularity of OTT video streaming services, time spent on digital media, including connected TV (CTV) devices and internet-connected gaming consoles, will continue to increase in 2021, albeit that growth will progress at a more moderate pace than what was seen in 2020. In fact, U.S. adults will add an average of 9 minutes to their daily digital media viewership, on top of the additional hour they consumed in 2020. Smartphones will dominate the most-watched digital device list, but podcasts and subscription OTT services will also add to their 2020 growth.

Which media outlets will experience a declining viewership in 2021?

On the flip side, usage of traditional media outlets in the U.S. will decrease in 2021 by 5.7% or 18 minutes per day, largely due to the predicted 16-minute drop in linear TV viewership. U.S. adults will also spend less time with radio and print media which will account for the remaining 2-minute drop estimated for 2021.

“Ultimately, 2020 was an anomalous year for TV,” wrote Audrey Shomer, author of the report. “The medium picked up minutes for the first time since 2012, as people spent more time watching TV news about the pandemic, U.S. elections, and social unrest. This year, however, TV will reverse its 2020 growth and fall below 2019 levels.”

In addition, the report predicts that linear TV consumption will continue to contract at a steady rate over the next years with the average U.S. adult watching 15 minutes less in 2022 and another 11 minutes less the year after that. These declines are due to a couple of factors. To begin with, the number of on-demand streaming options continues to rise. Also a factor is the fact that more Americans are cord-cutting, opting out of traditional cable TV services in favor of connected TV devices.

How should companies shift their advertising budgets in light of the coming decline in TV viewership?

Not sure how to pivot to include new OTT and CTV strategies into your current marketing strategy? DX Media is happy to help.

We are experts in this space, offering support for radio and TV advertising, streaming services, as well as social media. We are big enough to offer discounted media, yet still small enough to give you the one-on-one attention you deserve. Although we will help you optimize your CTV and OTT strategy, the customer journey is not linear. That is why we offer support every step of the way, allowing you to maximize results and improve your bottom line. Check out our full range of services. When you partner with us, we’ll help you develop the best plan of action for your business across all media channels.

Ready to get started? Contact us for a free digital consultation today!

Additional Resources:

> Turning Connected TV Viewers Into Customers

> Reach the Streaming Generation With Ads on Connected TV