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Podcasting, Streaming Help Audio Remain Second Most-Used Media Worldwide.

PQ Media’s new analysis of media usage around the world finds that global consumption grew just 0.3% in 2023 to an average of 56.2 hours per week. That follows 3% growth in end-user time spent with media in 2022, which PQ Media says was related to the Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup and elections held in many of the 20 biggest media markets worldwide.

PQ Media says audio remains the second most-used medium around the globe, with growth driven by podcasting and streaming audio subscription services. PQ Media says 37.5% of media time last year went to digital media worldwide, up from 27% in 2018. It also points out there are several countries, such as South Korea, the Netherlands and Spain, where digital media usage accounts for over half of total media consumption.

“With the rapid shift to digital media usage, 2022 will be the last year in which traditional media will ever post positive growth,” PQ Media CEO Patrick Quinn says. “While live sports, like the Super Bowl and UEFA Champions League, drive broadcast and cable TV usage, video streaming was the fastest-growing media channel in 2023.”

Overall, the average global consumer spent 8.21 hours per day with media in 2023, up from 7.29 hours in 2018. Ad-supported media accounted for 53.3% of consumer time spent in 2023, down from 55.8% in 2018.

The 2023 results show that media consumption is nearing PQ Media’s previously forecasted saturation point, as digital device penetration has almost peaked, and has begun posting declines in several major global markets, including the U.S. — the world’s largest media market.

Consumer media usage grew at its slowest rate in more than a decade in 2023, some of which was the result of high inflation that caused consumers to cut discretionary spending on media like books, video games, print subscriptions and streaming services, according to PQ Media’s 11th annual Global Consumer Media Usage Forecast 2024-2028.

While media consumption growth rates may have slowed last year, Quinn thinks there will be “accelerated growth” in 2024 thanks in part to events like the U.S. election and the Summer Olympics. PQ Media also points out that slower growth is not all that bad, since during a recession media consumption rises as people are out of work and have more time to engage with media, and often use media as a cathartic tool to help alleviate the stress associated with hard times.

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