Reports Media & Marketing

Peak Attention Competing in a Saturated Attention Economy

Report by Mark Mulligan and Karol Severin
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The 20,000 Foot View: Smartphones have made media consumption more interconnected than ever and are still increasing audiences time spent with entertainment. Filling the residual audience downtime from the analogue era was the fuel in the engine of the digital content economy. Now, however, the attention economy has peaked, with the majority of that downtime addressed. Future attention growth is becoming zero sum, with time gained most often at the expense of time spent elsewhere. In this report MIDiA maps entertainment consumption across all formats in our unique Attention Model, tracking a dozen entertainment behaviours across        markets.

Key Insights

  • The filling of audience downtime fuelled the digital content economy, but now the attention economy is entering a new phase: saturation
  • Attention growth has peaked: just        of the total        weekly entertainment hours available remain unaddressed
  • Video dominates attention across traditional and digital media, accounting for        of all entertainment time
  • Audio is second at        with radio the major contributor despite a steady decline across most developed markets
  • Social media, the biggest digital contributor at        has created consumer behaviour rather than transitioning traditional antecedents
  • Despite the ascendancy of audio streaming, its contribution to overall entertainment time is small        video usage is mainstream, with a combined audience of        million across the surveyed markets compared to        million for streaming music
  • Games is a major format, accounting for        of entertainment time 
  • News and magazine readers average just        hours across the adult population, despite having the second-largest audience        million)
  • Due to content abundance, attention is becoming devalued – sentiment is the next engagement metric that needs to be added to the measurement mix
  • The commodification of user experience will no longer work – user experiences must become manifestations of bold, unique brand identities 

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:  Amazon, Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Video, Angry Birds, AOL, Apple, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, Discovery Networks, Disney, Disney+, Facebook Fortnite, Fortnite World Cup, Google, HBO, Hulu, Instagram, NBC, Netflix, Snapchat, Spotify, TikTok, Warner Media, WeChat, Yahoo, YouTube

Note: A detailed Attention Model dataset is published alongside this report with data for        entertainment activities for        markets, including audience size, average time spent, total time spent and attention share.

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