A Weight-Gain Myth

Of the major media, which is most essential in your life? (Besides Adweek, that is.) In a survey by Arbitron and Edison Media Research of Americans age 12 and older, a plurality of respondents (39 percent) said it’s television. Radio (26 percent) and the Internet (20 percent) each won respectable shares of the vote; newspapers (11 percent) trailed badly. As you can see by the chart, TV’s primacy is unrelated to any perception that it’s been improving, since an outright majority of respondents believe it’s been getting worse. Conversely, newspapers seem not to have benefited much from the fact that more people see them improving than worsening. As one would expect, age is a dividing line on these issues. Among 12-24-year-olds, the Internet got 34 percent of the “most essential” vote, vs. 30 percent for TV and 27 percent for radio. The 12-24 cohort also gave the Internet nearly half its vote (46 percent) when asked to say which medium is “most cool and exciting.” TV ran second, with 29 percent. Among people who are online, it cuts into the time they allot to other media. TV suffers the most, with 37 percent of wired respondents saying they watch less due to time spent online. But newspapers (31 percent) and magazines (27 percent) also take a hit. This effect is likely to increase as broadband access becomes more common. In homes that now have a broadband link, people average two hours per day online, vs.58 minutes for consumers in general. Time spent with other media is correspondingly lower in broadband households.