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IAB Analysis Finds Pandemic-Era Media Consumption On The Rise.

In its latest COVID Impact on Consumer Media Usage Report, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) gathers data to illustrate how the global pandemic is significantly impacting media usage, both traditional and digital — and it’s on the rise.

In fact, the IAB reports consumers spent 14% more time online during the time period of March-April 2020 versus the same time period in 2019.

The study shows the significance of social-distancing and self-isolation on consumer media consumption. By March 31 of this year, a whopping 87% of consumers reported they were consuming more media compared to pre-outbreak, with the average time spent on digital media overall spiking once consumers began to self-isolate.

Not surprisingly, broadcast television consumption was highest, with 39% of consumers reporting an increase in consumption since the coronavirus outbreak began. However, the report contains good news for radio: Both radio and podcasting jumped significantly, with 23% of consumers reporting an increase in consumption of radio since the beginning of the COVID outbreak. Podcasting, meanwhile, followed with a 13% increase in consumption.

While the report’s smart-speaker data was confined to 2019, it also showed growth, up 10% year over year, with smart-speaker users representing more than two- thirds of all voice assistant users.

The trade group also finds that even when the pandemic finally comes to an end, many consumers plan to continue their current media usage.

The difference between media format consumption diminishes markedly, with 68% of broadcast TV consumers reporting they’re currently consuming more — and will continue doing so — post-COVID. Not far behind are 62% of podcast users and 55% of radio users reporting the same.

The significance of these numbers — especially those of radio, podcasts and broadcast TV — is multifold, with implications for advertising. Extrapolating from the IAB’s report, it’s clear that while COVID may have sparked the initial jump in consumer media usage, the after-effects could be far reaching and enduring.

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