Media professionals still have a very different view of media usage than the general public. A survey found that they thought people watch over two hours of online video subscription services a day, while industry research indicates the average figure is about 35 minutes a day, although it varies a lot across the population.

Ten years ago, the television advertising organisation Thinkbox produced a landmark study Ad Nation that demonstrated huge differences in media consumption and perception between those who work in the media and averages across the United Kingdom.

Its latest Adnormal behaviour study suggests that the advertising world is still not quite aligned to the public, which might come as little surprise, given that most media types tend to be relatively young and metropolitan.

A survey conducted by Ipsos compared a nationally representative sample of over 1,000 people with over 200 media professionals and examined claimed attitudinal and behavioural responses on television viewing.

The media professionals could accurately estimate the amount of time people spent watching broadcast television on a television set. They collectively estimated this to be 2 hours 33 minutes a day. Research from BARB for the first half of 2022 put its slightly lower at 2 hours and 24 minutes a day.

Media professionals claimed to watch just 1 hour 9 minutes of live television a day, which is 43 minutes less than the general public who claimed average viewing of 1 hour and 52 minutes a day.

In terms of broadcast viewing on demand, the industry professionals claimed to watch just under an hour a day but thought the national average was 1 hour and 45 minutes a day, while the general public put it at just over an hour a day.

When it came to online video subscription services, the media professionals estimated that the population spends 2 hours and 3 minutes a day watching online video subscription services. The general public estimated the figure at 1 hour 26 minutes a day. Data from the audience research organisation BARB suggest the figure for adults is actually just 35 minutes a day.

The media professionals apparently believe that people spend 1 hour and 24 minutes a day watching YouTube. The nationally representative sample claimed the figure was 40 minutes a day, which was very similar to the 42 minutes a day average claimed by the media professionals.

Media professionals were also twice as likely to be users of Instagram or Twitter than the general public, and over 150% more likely to use TikTok, based on claimed use within the previous three months.

The media professionals thought that 35% of the country had used TikTok, but the national sample suggests the figure is more like 17%.

“Adland’s job is to understand the audience, and this new study shows that we’re heading in a better direction,” said Matt Hill, the research and planning director of Thinkbox. “By and large adland has an improved grasp of what people are up to, particularly when it comes to TV. This study reminds us not to look at the world through the prism of our own behaviour.”