“We consume more and more media”

We spend more time on TV and audio than ten years ago. We read, watch and listen at any time of the day and via more platforms . "We are often online, but we massively keep on reading newspapers, watching television and listening to the radio," says Kristin Blondé, Director Consumer Intelligence at Medialaan- dPP.

Both the Flemish and the Dutch people spend more time in front of the classic TV screen in the living room. In Flanders, viewing time increased to 195 minutes a day in the last 10 years. In the Netherlands to 188 minutes a day. “Ten years ago, on an average, Flemish people watched TV for 164 minutes a day. They still do today, but in combination with, for example, Netflix or Play More. This increases the total viewing time by half an hour to 195 minutes,” says Kristin Blondé.


Flemish people watch the classic TV screen 195 minutes a day, Dutch people 188 minutes.

We also listen more to audio. “We spend 12 percent more time on radio, podcasts and online streaming than two years ago. Digitization has increased the average listening time to 328 minutes a day,” explains Kristin Blondé. And we also massively follow the news. Every day we consume two hours of news online and via radio, television, newspapers, magazines.

The digitization of the use of media is the strongest with 18- to 24-year-olds. Flemish youngsters watch and listen 50 percent online and 50 percent offline. In the category of the 24plus, these kind of percentages have not been reached yet.

“In the Netherlands and Flanders, half of the users consume news via the smartphone.”
Kristin Blondé, Director Consumer Intelligence Medialaan – dPP

The consumer is at the wheel

Media are omnipresent today, and we consume them likewise. At home, at work, on the road, in the waiting room and in the bathroom, on the toilet and in bed. “The consumer listens, looks and reads what he wants, when he wants it and on the device of his preference. The day starts and ends with media,” says Kristin Blondé.

“Research was done about this. The first thing people do when they wake up and still lay in bed is to check the news apps on their smartphone. What happened while I was sleeping? We also close the day with media. We take our tablet, laptop or smartphone to bed because we want to relax and watch our favourite program before going to sleep.”

In addition, we consume a lot on the go. The smartphone is the number 1 device to consume news. “In the Netherlands and in Flanders, half of the users consume news via the smartphone. Mobile TV viewing is also rising spectacularly. The smartphone has recently become the most used device to watch full episodes online: 37 percent of watching longform via and Stievie is done via the smartphone,” says Kristin Blondé.

A trend towards both online and offline

The digital success does not mean the end of offline media. “The use of offline media has declined, but we continue to listen to the radio, watch TV and read printed newspapers and magazines en masse,” continues Kristin Blondé. The figures confirm it: every day we watch the ‘classic’ television screen during  195 minutes, we listen as many minutes to the ‘classic’ radio and two million Flemings read ‘their’ printed newspaper.

“Research shows that online and offline play a different role for news consumers. An app is used as an update, to be informed. And sometimes a news site is a perfect way to relax for a short while,” says Kristin Blondé.

“Printed newspapers have an added value for many consumers. For them, the newspaper is more reliable and synoptic. They like to read the news in detail. That gives them the chance to think about what they read. Reading the printed newspaper is also emotionally driven: a moment of me-time and digital detox in a hectic world. ”

The digital consumer sets the bar high

Consumers are used to the global players. Netflix, Google and Facebook set the standard. Online media that wish to win over the digital consumer best take two critical needs into account: convenience and personalization.

“For the consumer, digital means the same as fast, easy and intuitive. The entire user experience has to be perfect and faster than real time. That is only possible with the right technology,” says Kristin Blondé. “In addition, personalization is crucial. The consumer does not want to waste his time on irrelevant content. Consumers expect us to know their needs. Listening carefully to what they tell us and extracting the right insights out of it, is very important. Consumers are open to customized content, provided that what you are recommending is okay. Therefore we invest a lot in data-analytics and strong recommendation-algorithms that provide personalized content.”

Media in the role of the ‘selector’

People feel like they have less and less time. “The huge supply of media gives readers, listeners and viewers mixed feelings. It’s great that there is such a large supply and so much freedom of choice, but how can I optimally spend my time?”, says Kristin Blondé. “Consumers want a reliable, strong brand that makes the right selection for them. This selector role is especially important for news media.”

“Research shows that the Belgian news consumer is convinced that 1 in 3 news items contains incorrect information. 1 in 10 thinks that information is intentionally incorrect. The fake news feeling is strongly present. As a media group, we can clearly make a difference.”

Podcasts and speakers are on the rise

In 2018, 19 percent of the Flemish people listened to a podcast every month. For young people that was almost 1 in 3. In Belgium and the Netherlands together, 1.6 million podcasts were downloaded from The Persgroep media offering last year. “We listen to podcasts on the road (45%) and at home (45%). We do it to relax, but mostly to find inspiration, deepening of understanding and arguments to form our own opinion on a subject,” says Kristin Blondé.

She also expects the number of smart speakers to rise in the future. Today, 8 percent of Dutch households already have a smart speaker, and in Flanders, no more than 2 percent . “As soon as they are available in a Flemish version, that number can grow quickly, thanks to the low price of the devices. In the US, 21 percent of the 18plus already have a smart speaker. That opens up a whole new way of listening and interacting with content, podcasts and other media services.”

1.6 million

In Flanders and the Netherlands together 1.6 million podcasts were downloaded from The Persgroep media offering in 2018.

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