User-Generated Content Represents 39% of Time Spent With Media: Study

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Americans now spend nearly as much time streaming user-generated videos on YouTube, TikTok and other online platforms as they do watching traditional TV.

That’s according to a new study from the Consumer Technology Association analyzing U.S. content creator trends. The trade group’s research report, “Exploring the Creator Economy,” found that overall, user-created content accounts for 39% of weekly media hours consumed by Americans vs. 61% for traditional media.

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Specifically, among all Americans 13 and older, “watching traditional TV content” had 18% share of weekly time spent with media, compared with 16% for UGC videos.

As you would expect, younger consumers are more likely to spend more time with UGC: Teens 13-17 spend 56% of their media time with user-created content compared with just 22% among consumers 55 and older.

Here’s the breakdown of weekly usage by content type/source, per the CTA survey:

Weekly Content Consumption, Average % Share of Content Hours

Overall, the study found, about 7% of U.S. consumers 13 and older — nearly 20 million people — monetize content in some way online, either on a part- or full-time basis. Those who said they are full-time content creators reported generating an average of $768 per month, according to the study.

The CTA is releasing the research in conjunction with the CES 2022 trade show taking place this week in Las Vegas.

Other findings from the report:

  • On a monthly basis, of revenue earned by creators, 28% is from merchandise or fan experiences; 27% is from content subscriptions; 27% is from a la carte payment for content; 16% is from tips; and 2% is from other sources.

  • Creators monetize 2-3 content categories on average, with images/photos, writing/text and video content among the most popular categories.

  • Genres such as gaming, audio and music have fewer content creators overall but a larger proportion who are monetizing their content.

CTA’s study is based on an online survey of 2,084 respondents aged 13 and older was conducted between Oct. 26 and Nov. 9, 2021, by research firm YouGov. The survey provided a nationally representative panel of U.S. consumers who have a mobile phone, according to the trade group. The margin of sampling error at 95% confidence for aggregate results is +/-3%.

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