Boston, MA – March 14, 2011 – The owners of iPads and other tablet devices are voraciously consuming all types of media and are significantly outpacing individuals who don’t own these devices. Additional findings in L.E.K. Consulting’s Hidden Opportunities in New Media Survey include why TV and select other media will stay strong, and how social media is reshaping commerce. L.E.K. interviewed 2,000 U.S. consumers to measure changes in media consumption and identify the underlying motivations behind those changes.


The surge in online digital media consumption has several drivers, including the perception that e-versions of content are lower-priced. For magazines, 29% percent of tablet owners reported increasing their consumption since last year, compared to only 4% of non-tablet owners. For newspapers, 26% of device owners cited increased consumption of print newspapers, compared to 6% of non-tablet owners. Tablet owners are also gaming three times (3x) more than non-tablet owners, and watching movies two-and-a-half times (2.5x) more.


“Consumers’ media choices are changing rapidly, and the surge in consumption by tablet owners has been dramatic,” said Dan Schechter, Vice President and Co-Head of L.E.K. Consulting’s global Media, Entertainment & Technology practice. “It’s a clear indication that people are hungry for the ease of use and value of short-form digital content, and there’s a significant opportunity for both content creators and advertisers to feed this appetite for media with targeted offers.”


Although digital media is generally winning consumer mindshare, TV is still the most popular medium among respondents, with one-third picking it as the single form of media they would keep if they were stranded on an island and forced to choose only one. The number two medium is general Internet access (24%), and the third most popular is social network access (13%).  


“Cord Trimming” Cuts Pay TV Revenues

The Pay TV industry is scared. Free video content sites such as Hulu and inexpensive video rental models like Netflix have raised fears that consumers will “cut the cord” on their pay TV providers and rely on these “Over-The-Top” (OTT) services instead. L.E.K. finds that many analysts are missing the real threat. Only 2% of consumers are completely unplugging their pay TV providers. The bigger issue for cable and satellite providers is “cord-trimming” – consumers who reduce their monthly pay TV services. Sixteen percent of survey respondents took this action during the past year, and these cord trimmers reduced their monthly TV bills by a lot (an average of 25%).


Looking more broadly, L.E.K. found that consumers are keeping flat-price subscription-based services. Nearly 40% of consumers report increasing online activities and 19% are viewing more cable TV since last year. Transaction-based offerings are declining, and consumers reported
less frequent use of services like Video on Demand (23% decrease) and one-time downloads (22% decline).


Social Networks Drive Brand Awareness and Sales

While everybody knows that social network use is surging, the new news is that social networks are starting to drive real-world commerce. Social network use was ubiquitous among respondents, with 44% using them daily and 27% logging in several times per day.


L.E.K. identified a high correlation between these users’ social network activity and its impact on sales. Of the respondents who logged in several times per day to Facebook, 57% reported “Liking” at least five brands. In this group, 25% of respondents reported social networks driving real-word purchases.


“People who are highly active in social networks are more likely to engage with brands and be open to advertising offers in these communities,” said Alex Evans, Vice President of L.E.K. Consulting. “When executed effectively, a social network ecosystem strategy can raise awareness and garner brand endorsements from vocal community members. This evangelism can create the kind of credibility that convinces consumers to make purchases.”


Additional L.E.K. Hidden Opportunities in New Media Survey findings are available in the L.E.K. Executive Insights report.


About the Survey

L.E.K. surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers in December 2010 for its third-annual L.E.K. Hidden Opportunities in New Media Survey. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.2% at the 95% confidence level.


About L.E.K. Consulting

L.E.K. Consulting is a global management consulting firm that uses deep industry expertise and analytical rigor to help clients solve their most critical business problems. Founded more than 25 years ago, L.E.K. employs more than 900 professionals in 20 offices across Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. L.E.K. advises and supports global companies that are leaders in their industries – including the largest private and public sector organizations, private equity firms and emerging entrepreneurial businesses. L.E.K. helps business leaders consistently make better decisions, deliver improved business performance and create greater shareholder returns. For more information, go to


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L.E.K. Consulting Provides Fresh Insight into Consumer Media Preferences and Identifies Winning Revenue Models