When Media Shares Audiences

(cc) Flickr user *USB*

(cc) Flickr user *USB*

One area where print and broadcast will always differ is in the duration of its consumption. While the heart of the newspaper industry is still news, there is enough entertainment and original programming to drive advertising revenue and support the journalistic efforts.

YouTube was never going to have the same effect on prime time that the print folks tell you the news aggregators have on their effort – no matter what Viacom tells you. Still, the corps moved quickly to adapt by offering video through their own properties or intelligent partnerships and projects.

And, as Nielsen research from earlier this week shows, even though the digital video audience is growing –  70 percent growth in people watching some video on mobile, and a 46 percent increase in those who watched on the Internet – our TV viewing habits still rule. The study shows those trends to be at an all time high of 141 hours per month.

That divide is probably unconquerable – Internet time isn’t always spent with video, even if it is one of the most popular activities online. Also, when you consumer video in 1-2 minute chunks, it adds up a lot slower than 26 minute sitcoms. There may be one other factor, also shown in this research, and it also speaks to a different advantage (other than embracing digital) that broadcast has over print.

Looking at Nielsen’s convergence research panel, June results show that 57% of consumers simultaneously watch TV and go online at least once a month. An estimated 130 million used TV and the Internet at the same time at least once during June. Nielsen says the average time spent doing this was two hours and 39 minutes.

Broadcast can work as a complement to online media; it’s hard to read a newspaper and surf the Web, and its counterproductive since you can search the newspaper ON the Web. The rate of growth of simultaneous consumption is higher than adoption of Internet video and that’s not to be laughed at.

If you want to take it a step further, I’ll even give Twitter and other status-based elements of social networks like Facebook a lot of credit for making this happen. Major media events dominate the trending topics and news feeds of these services – and the range is incredibly large to include everything from Iranian civil unrest to Tennis to Glee. And, in the case of the last one, Fox is even encouraging it.

The thesis of this post is not that rising levels of digital consumption have an inverse effect on print while a direct effect on broadcast. That can’t be explained through one study. But it is worth noting that there are methods to move a story and an audience from one medium to another without boxing them in.

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