Media consumption on mobile devices globally will rise to 28 per cent by 2020, as mobile media continues to take share from other media, according to Zenith’s Media Consumption Forecasts 2018.

Zenith’s Media Consumption Forecast 2018 is the report’s fourth annual edition, which surveys changing patterns of media consumption since 2011, and forecasts how the amount of time people allocate to different media will change between 2018 and 2020, in 63 countries across the world.

The report found mobile media consumption globally will reach 24 per cent in 2018, increasing 5 per cent since 2011.

Locally, Australian consumers’ mobile media consumption will increase 143 per cent by 2020 when compared to 2013. Local digital media consumption will rise to 190 daily minutes by 2020, up 8 per cent on 2017.

The forecast also found the rise of mobile is forcing brands to transform the way they plan their communications across media, focusing less on channels and more on consumer mind-set as the distinctions between channels are eroded.

Commenting on the Australian findings, Zenith Australia CEO, Nickie Scriven, said, “The Forecast predicts mobile will attract 123.6 daily minutes by 2020, so the important focus for marketers in Australia will be how their ecosystems are optimised across platforms and content.”

With consumers increasingly searching for and consuming content on mobile devices they will have little tolerance for brands and content that is not mobile optimised. Then when we overlay consumer mindset with mobile consumption, marketers need to ensure their content is welcome and adds value on such a personal device, according to Scriven.

“Despite their erosion in daily consumption, this year’s Forecast found that time spent consuming traditional channels will start to slow by 2020, especially across TV (-1 per cent) and radio (0 per cent). Mobile will continue to outpace consumption in these channels, growing by 9 per cent from 2017 to 2020.”

The rise of mobile

Mobile internet use has eroded the consumption of almost all other media. Newspapers and magazines have lost the most – the Forecast estimates that between 2011 and 2018 time spent reading them has fallen by 45 per cent for newspapers and 56 per cent for magazines.

But this refers only to time spent reading printed publications. Time spent reading newspapers and magazines online is included in the internet total, and for many publications the time they have gained online more than makes up for the time they have lost from print.

Television and radio have also lost out, though not on the same scale. The Forecast estimates that time spent watching television shrank by 3 per cent between 2011 and 2018, while time spent listening to radio shrank by 8 per cent.

Again, television channels and radio stations have gained audiences online at the same time as they have lost them offline, but they have faced stiff competition from native digital platforms such as YouTube and Spotify.

From channel to mindset

The rise of mobile has blurred the boundaries between different channels: it can be used for entertainment, news, information, research, socialising and communication. For brands it can play the role of building awareness, creating direct responses, allowing one-to-one communication, or generating earned content, depending on how the consumer is using the device, and in particular their mind-set while using it.

A consumer who is actively searching for specific information is in a very different mind-set from one who is sharing holiday photos with friends, or leaning back and enjoying a video. Brands need to understand the signals a consumer’s activity provides about their mind-set, and therefore what forms of communication are appropriate.

Focusing on mind-set also dissolves the distinction between traditional and digital media: it’s more important that a consumer is reading news, than whether they are doing so using a printed newspaper or newspaper websites.

People who are watching video content on television sets, laptops or smartphones have much in common, though people watching long-form entertainment can have quite different mind-sets from people scrolling short-form content on social media. Brands need to decide the role each platform plays in their communications strategies, however the consumer happens to access it.

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