Reading and other media

(Book) reading cannot be examined just as an activity on its own. For about a hundred years now there has been no media monopoly in which the only contestant to book reading was other reading, i.e. of magazines and newspapers. However, book reading does have its media neighbours with which it competes for the time and attention of individual users.

Media users, i.e. those who use individual media every day, are shown in percentage order as follows: watching TV (97%), magazine and newspaper reading (83%), internet usage (74%), radio (72%), book reading (69%), audio (43%), video (38%) and social networks (42%).

If for the sake of simplicity we take a figure of 100% for time occupied, then television takes up one third of our daily media time and radio takes up one fifth as does internet usage. Book reading comes to 8%. If we place individual media together and create three large groups out of them then the media involving reading would come to 28%, as would the audio media, whereas the visual media would come to 44% of our time every day.

As for the relationship between the internet and book reading, there is a trend whereby the stronger the reading, the greater the number of minutes spent on the internet. However, the opposite trend applies in the case of social networks.

Book reading: female, oldest age category, highest education, economically inactive, conurbations with a population of 5,000-19,999.

Newspaper/magazine reading: probably 55+, economically inactive, smallest conurbations.

TV: oldest age category, lowest education, economically inactive, lowest income category.

Radio: probably the oldest age category, lowest education, probably economically active, probably smallest conurbations.

Videos (video recorders, CD/DVD recorders): probably male, youngest age category, lowest education, probably smallest conurbations

Audio (cassette recorders, CD/DVD recorders, mp3): youngest age category (prevalently), probably secondary education, economically inactive, lowest income, smallest and smaller conurbations.

Working online: male, youngest age category, economically active, highest income.

Social networks: probably female, youngest age category, secondary education, economically inactive, smaller and medium-sized conurbations.

The increase in the number of minutes spent watching TV might be considered something of a surprise. The only rational explanation for this is that analogue broadcasting has come to an end and digital broadcasting has taken over. Analogue broadcasting was switched off in 2011 except in two small regions, where it had come to an end by mid-2012. This technical change was accompanied by an increase (sometimes quite substantial) in the number of channels offered by the operators. Those who had previously been able to watch four channels suddenly had forty, all free of charge, as well as the option to expand this range on offer to include paid channels. We asked questions on TV viewing over the last year, i.e. from May 2012 to May 2013, a period in which this sudden leap in use was still very fresh, so it was accompanied by some curiosity and anticipation… and thus an increase in viewing time. However, to be able to answer in a relevant way, we would need to know more about TV viewers’ user behaviour. From what we know from our own observations it seems the internet might be behind this increase, i.e. specifically that it enables us to watch TV programmes from all over the world, and above all that it enables us to watch programmes that we missed (thanks to the archives). This also applies in the case of radio, for which an increase over 2010 can also be seen.