The antidote to media overload

Category: Content

Friday July 3rd, 2015

The British are world leaders in a dubious league table. According to new research, we are leading the world with our addiction to reading and interacting online, and now spend an average ten hours a day consuming media.

Research by ZenithOptimedia says folk worldwide will average eight hours a day consuming media, with the exact figure of 492 minutes up 1.4% from last year. Much of the increase is accounted for by growing use of the internet. And our usage is set to continue, trending up by an estimated 35 minutes by 2017.

Despite what seems to be an increasing interest in consuming information – or just more pictures of cats and dogs doing silly things – the move online is set to further displace traditional media. The popularity of newspapers has declined overall by 25% in the last five years, reports Zenith Optimedia, while television has seen a 6% decline. But TV is well placed to survive in this changing landscape, and it will continue to be an effective advertising medium for many consumer products, as we are expected to be watching an average 198 minutes a day in 2017.

“The average person already spends half their waking life consuming media,” said Jonathan Barnard, ZenithOptimedia’s Head of Forecasting. “But people around the world are clearly hungry for even more opportunities to discover information, enjoy entertainment and communicate with each other, and new technology is supplying these opportunities. Technology also enables brands to communicate with and learn from consumers in new ways. We expect media consumption to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, multiplying the opportunities for brands to develop relationships with consumers.”

But this ever-growing obsession with new media, and short news bites, is facing a backlash from the “slow journalism” movement. In the UK, a bunch of journalists has come together, concerned that consumers are getting a much inferior quality of information than they used to. With many news organisations cutting back on expenses, as traditional sources of advertising revenue fall away, many local news organisations have disappeared and, with them, the journalists who used to hold businesses, politicians and local authority figures to account.

Rob Orchard, one of the founders of new publication Delayed Gratification, says: “Modern news production is filled to the brim with reprinted press releases, kneejerk punditry, advertorial nonsense and churnalism. Slow Journalism is an antidote to this: intelligent, curated, non-partisan news coverage designed to inspire and inform.” And, of course, his team’s output is actually printed on paper, so you can get to read it offline.