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The Global Media Landscape: A Look at The Latest Trends in Global Media

Audience market research company GWI has released its flagship report, The Global Media Landscape, which highlights the current state of the market, major trends in how media is being consumed by users, and how these consumption patterns have evolved over time. The figures of the report are from GWI’s online research on internet users in the age group of 16-64. The purpose of the report is to educate marketers and content creators about the upcoming trends that will gain traction in the coming days so that they can better prepare themselves for the times ahead.

Here are the major highlights of the report.

1. Device Ownership

Although the sale of smartphones has plateaued over the last three years, smartphone ownership has become so common that it is now spurring the growth of other devices connected to IoT. Smart TV ownership has witnessed a particularly dramatic boost over the last few years, increasing by 19% since 2018.

Similarly, smartwatch ownership has also doubled in the last three years, while smart wristband ownership has increased by 46% in the same timeframe. However, certain devices like PC/laptops have also seen a decline as their ownership has dropped by 19% since 2018. The same is true for e-Readers as their ownership has also declined by 20% during this period.

2. Media Habits

After a brief increase during the pandemic, the daily time spent watching broadcast TV has gone down by 3 minutes across the globe since 2018. But although the time spent on watching online TV is lower than its broadcast counterpart, the format has continued to make impressive growth as the daily time spent is up by 21 minutes since 2018. This has increased the fastest among Gen X viewers for whom the daily time spent is more than 23 minutes.

In Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, consumers spend over 3 hours a day going through their feeds. While this is mostly driven by younger audiences like Gen Z and millennials who spend 2 hours 44 minutes on social media per day on average, Gen X and boomers also spend slightly less than 2 hours there, which is an increase of 14 minutes since 2018. Apart from APAC, consumers across markets are spending 50 minutes or less on the physical press in 2022

3. Media Effectiveness

Mobile dominates consumers’ time spent and attention in 2022, with a reach of 98% globally. Despite falling time spent, GWI data shows broadcast TV’s resilience – reaching a greater share of consumers than its online counterpart, and remaining a top source of brand discovery in turn. However, online TV is still growing quickly and reaches more consumers with each passing year.

4. TV Behaviors

Brands are now faced with the challenge of keeping consumers entertained so they come back for more – and they’re competing with all other forms of media to do this. GWI data shows that while consumers favor live TV (91%) and streaming and subscription services (73%), these formats aren’t completely clear of the competition, with video/social platforms like Twitch and YouTube gaining traction, especially among younger generations. This doesn’t mean traditional viewing habits are out, but that different viewing formats need to work together – and complement each other.

5. Rise of Short-Form Video Content

While every social media platform has its own style with unique audiences and niche features that set them apart from the next service, the lines are now blurring. TikTok’s success with short-form videos has led other platforms to look for ways to build video features of their own. However, not every platform is attempting to emulate TikTok. In fact, although TikTok has made its name through short-form videos, it’s now turning to Instagram for more ways to bolster its offering.

On the other hand, Instagram, which is known for its photo-sharing features, now sees over two-thirds of its users watching videos on the platform every month. The situation is similar for Facebook, where over half of its users do the same. As these services accommodate more kinds of media, they’re better placed to attract new users – or avoid losing them elsewhere. Even a business networking service like LinkedIn (where 3 in 10 watch videos every month) has successfully integrated video into its offering without losing what makes it unique.

6. The Gaming State of Play

Although gaming is often associated with younger consumers, between 2018 and 2020 Gen X’s console time went up by 12 minutes a day, and even boomers added an extra 8 minutes a day. If we were to consider 2022, things have changed again as older consumers are now easing back on console use, while Gen Z and millennials are spending more time on gaming than they were during the pandemic.

In 2020, 73% of consumers were using a smartphone to play games, which is hardly surprising considering the mass mobile ownership. Today, however, the figure has fallen to 66%- a 10% decline in only two years. It was widely expected that smartphones would lead to a boom in gaming with the likes of Asus and Xiaomi releasing specialist gaming phones to market - but this dynamic seems to be losing some steam.

In the last year, there’s been a decline in the number of smartphone gamers who watch live streams on their mobiles, as well as a decline in the number of people who say they’re interested in gaming, esports, or technology. This is against a slight uptick in the number who have actually purchased a mobile game in the last month, although that only makes up 16% of smartphone gamers.

7. The State of Streaming & Radio

Recorded music earnings surpassed $25 billion last year for the first time. As listening to music becomes more accessible, revenue from recorded music won’t be declining anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean the radio’s days are numbered. Radio’s ability to adapt to new technology by adding streaming options and allowing phone and tablet users to listen via their devices has helped maintain its century-long popularity into the modern day.

But the appeal of streaming may have to do with the freedom to control the music – and the lack of ads. In Q2 2022, 48% of internet users say they typically prefer to be in control of the music they listen to, while 38% say they’re bothered by audio ads and avoid them when they can.

Bottom Line

The GWI report sheds light on the reasons and motivations that have led to the big changes happening in consumers’ media consumption patterns. This will help brands form a better sense of consumer behaviors and attitudes to stay ahead.

To delve deeper into the findings of the report, download the full report here.


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