The fastest-growing media? Old, stodgy TV.

Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly ran some numbers and found that television vastly outranks all other media in terms of hours used by U.S. consumers. Cable and satellite TV are the fastest-growing communication formats in terms of consumption, with Internet use a comparatively small slice of the media pie. How much? The average U.S. consumer watches 1,685 hours of TV a year, nearly equal to time spent working for a paycheck.

Kelly notes the Internet is rising as a share of total media use, yet “total time spent on the Internet is not even close” to broadcast. This reminds us of commentator Alan Wolk, who has suggested digitally sophisticated marketers often fall into a bias trap, assuming the entire population uses media as they do — what Wolk calls “Nascar Blindness.” Wolk wrote, and we can barely keep a straight face reading it, “Ad people and their friends don’t watch a lot of TV and, when they do, they often watch it via On Demand, iTunes, DVRs and even DVDs. So the natural assumption is that no one else is watching TV, either, that TV is dead and that the popularity of shows like American Idol, How I Met Your Mother, Desperate Housewives and Dancing With the Stars is some sort of fluke fueled by elderly Midwestern couples whose children have neglected to buy them iMacs.”

Wolk’s point is worth a bookmark if your digital agency claims the :30 second spot is dead. Online and mobile devices have emerged as core components of any media plan — yet don’t forget all the new flat-panel TVs in basements, or radios on long auto commutes, being put to good use. The question for your agency is if old formats of media are still thriving, how do the various new pieces fit in context?

Via Thomas Miskin.

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