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Americans Spend Half of Every Day on Media

Thanks to increased multitasking, American are now consuming media for more than 12 hours per day, with nearly half that time spent on digital platforms, according an eMarketer report published Oct. 9.

“U.S. Time Spent With Media: eMarketer’s Updated Estimates for 2017” calculates that U.S. adults will spend 12 hours and 1 minute daily with major media this year, with TV viewing accounting for only 3 hours 58 minutes of the total. The total media time per person (over age 18) in 2017 is two minutes per day higher than in 2016 and 24 minutes more than in 2012, according to the study.

The growing use of mobile devices represents more than one-quarter of total media time, according to the research group, which observed that "people have become more efficient at multitasking."

Related: Study: 85% of Internet Users Surf While Watching TV

eMarketer's methodology tallies the minutes of use, no matter whether a person is focused on one platform or is simultaneously using multiple devices. Its analysis concluded that "total media consumption time continues to grow, even as the number of hours in a day remains the same."

In the "digital" category, American spend 3 hours 17 minutes on mobile devices (not including voice conversations); two hours, 3 minutes on desktops and laptops; and 31 minutes on "other connected devices," such as tablets, eMarketer found.

"Multitasking via mobile is primarily responsible for the overall increase in time spent with media," the report said. "Consumers are spending more of their time on mobile devices conducting attention-heavy activities like video viewing and mobile gaming, but also with less visual activities like audio listening that enable continuous media intake."

Radio attracts 1 hour, 26 minutes of Americans' daily attention, and print media gets 24 minutes, according to the study.

"The amount of attention that an individual can provide to media has its limits, though, and growth is slowing," eMarketer's report continued. "Time spent with mobile non-voice will rise by 12 minutes in 2017, and will be offset by declines in time spent with desktops/laptops, print, radio and — most of all — TV."

Although eMarketer expects that "TV will remain the most time-consuming traditional medium" for adults, it points out that the 3 hour, 58 minutes daily dose of all TV now is down seven minutes from last year, and is significantly lower that eMarketer's previously published forecast of 4 hours, 19 minutes per day.