In an environment saturated with new and evolving media platforms, TV is still king: 71% of Americans rate watching TV on any device among their favorite media activities, according to Deloitte's annual survey on technology and media.

Meanwhile, the use of smartphones and social networking continues to increase as consumers turn to the social Web to help them shop.

TV viewing varies by generation, with older adults the most enthusiastic, according to Deloitte's State of the Media Democracy study:

  • Boomers (now age 45-66) and Matures (now age 64-75) prefer TV at higher levels than the general population, 81% and 76%, respectively.
  • Younger generations such as Trailing Millennials (now age 14-21) and Leading Millennials (now age 22-27) rely less on TV, 59% and 62%, respectively. 

More Americans are using the Web: 46% say they use the Internet for social purposes, up from 38% in 2009), as do 60% of Millennials.But fewer Americans are listening to music: 35% say they do so via any device, up from the 44% who said they listened to music a year earlier.

Below, other findings from the fifth edition of Deloitte's State of the Media Democracy survey.

On-Demand TV, Video Viewing Up

Nearly three-quarter of consumers (74%) say they have used a home TV system to watch their favorite TV shows in the previous six months, but online viewing of such programming is growing:

  • 20% of consumers have used the on-demand feature on their home TV system to watch their favorite shows, up from the 16% who reported doing so in 2009.
  • 13% of consumers have watched their favorite shows via video-sharing sites, up from 10% a year earlier.

Training Millennials (35%) and Leading Milllennials (34%) surpass other groups in watching programs via a show's website.

Even so, traditional home TV viewing is preferred, though at declining levels: 57% of consumers now say they prefer watching their favorite shows via home TV systems, down from the 61% who said so in 2009 and the 71% who said so in 2008.

Americans Multitasking While Watching TV

Web, mobile and social channels are changing the TV viewer experience: 74% of consumers say they multitask while watching TV; among them, 42% browse online, 29% talk on cellphones or mobile devices, and 26% send instant messages or text messages.

TV Ads Most Influential

Nearly nine in ten consumers (86%) say TV advertising has the greatest influence on their buying decisions. Online ads are the second-most influential (50%), followed by magazines (46%).

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Social Web Influencing Buying

The social Web is becoming a more powerful factor in shaping consumers' purchasing decisions:

  • 59% of consumers (82% of Leading Millennials) say online consumer reviews and ratings influence their buying decisions more than any type of online advertising.
  • 58% of consumers have decided not to buy a product based on an online review.
  • 54% have decided to make a purchase based on such a review (both professional as well as consumer-based reviews and recommendations).

Meanwhile, social networking use is growing: 61% of Americans say they use a social networking site, up from the 57% who reported doing so in 2009.

Smartphone Adoption

Fully one-third (33%) of American households now own a smartphone, up from 28% a year earlier, and up from 11% in 2007. Ownership is higher among Leading Millennials: 54% of that cohort owns a smartphone.

Such growth is likely to continue: 20% of consumers who don't own a smartphone are very/extremely interested in purchasing one in the near future.

Moreover, smartphones are valued more than ever: 17% of those who own a smartphone rate it as the device they value most, up from the 6% who said so in 2008.

Other key findings:

  • Print magazines still strong: 70% of Americans say they enjoy reading printed magazines even though they know they could find most of the same information online, and 55% have continued to subscribe to printed magazines.
  • Interest in Cloud Computing: 32% of consumers say they're interested in online media storage services accessible via any device,  and 43% report the desire to move content to any device and platform easily and effectively.

About the survey: Deloitte's fifth edition State of the Media Democracy survey was conducted from Sept. 10 to Oct. 8, 2010. The online survey polled nearly 2,000 US consumers age 14-75.

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State of Media: TV Still Strong as Social Web, Smartphone Use Surges

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