US Media Landscape Market Report 2021
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“Whether they are watching, listening or reading, American adults love media. The pandemic accelerated the use of digital media. Ad-free streaming services can make reaching target audiences challenging with traditional…

US Media Landscape Market Report 2021

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)


This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the US Media Landscape market including US Media Landscape market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the Media Landscape market in the US.

Current market landscape

Americans are voracious users of all types of media and a substantial share expect to increase the time they spend consuming content in the next six months. Currently, nearly all adults consume video and audio entertainment content and eight in 10 engage with print media and use social media. While the trend toward digital media was accelerated by the pandemic, more traditional forms of media, such as cable television or AM/FM radio remain widely used, especially among older consumers.

Future market trends in US Media Landscape

Rising COVID-19 caseloads due to the Delta variant have driven some consumers to revert to lockdown behaviors, which drives at-home media consumption. However, even as the country cautiously continues to fully re-open, digital media habits adopted during the pandemic are unlikely to fade. Increasingly connected consumers, adoption of 5G mobile services, and tech devices built to handle streaming entertainment will keep these services relevant.

Read on to discover more about the US Media Landscape consumer market, read our The Evolution of Technology in Consumers’ Lives – US – 2021 report, or take a look at our other Media, Books, and Stationery Market research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the media landscape and consumers’ content consumption.
  • How key demographic groups consume content and their preferred media types.
  • Where and why different media is consumed.
  • Influences on consumers’ media choices and plans for future consumption.

Covered in this report

Brands include: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, AT&T, Spotify Premium, Apple Music, Pandora, The New York Times, IHeartRadio, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Verizon, General Motors, Chevrolet, T-Mobile, NBC, Twitch, Paramount+, Starbucks, Apple TV+, ViacomCBS, Fox Corp., Lionsgate, AMC, Gimlet, Anchor, Parcast, The Ringer, MGM, CNN, TBS, TNT, HGTV, Food Network,  Discovery Channel, Warner Bros., Dish Network, Direct TV, ESPN.com, TheUndefeated.

Media types include:

  • Video entertainment: on-demand streaming service (eg Netflix, Amazon Prime Video), pay-as-you-go video streaming (ie rent or buy from iTunes, Google Play), cable/satellite pay TV, cable TV (eg XFINITY, Cox), satellite TV (eg DirecTV, DISH), broadcast TV (eg digital antenna for free local channels), live digital TV streaming service (eg Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV), sports streaming service (eg ESPN+, DAZN)
  • Audio entertainment: podcasts, ad supported music streaming service (eg Spotify, Pandora Radio), ad free music streaming service (eg Spotify Premium, Apple Music), audio books (eg Audible), AM/FM radio stations, satellite radio stations
  • Written media: print or digital versions of local/regional newspapers (eg Chicago Tribune, The Oregonian), national newspapers (eg USA Today, Wall Street Journal), weekly magazines (eg Time, Newsweek), monthly magazines (eg Vogue, Men’s Health), books/e-books (eg novels, biographies)

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Kristen Boesel, a leading analyst in the Media sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Whether they are watching, listening or reading, American adults love media. The pandemic accelerated the use of digital media. Ad-free streaming services can make reaching target audiences challenging with traditional advertisements, but there are opportunities for marketers to employ more innovative campaigns that reach consumers across channels and generate positive word of mouth for new content.
Kristen Boesel, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst
Kristen Boesel
Senior Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definitions
    • Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • COVID-19: US context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
    • Americans love media
      • Figure 1: Content consumption, 2021
    • Few plan to scale back on media use
      • Figure 2: Expected changes in media consumption, by type of content, 2021
    • Impact of COVID-19 on the media landscape
      • Figure 3: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on media, 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Explore more than a single source to reach consumers
      • Figure 4: Influences on content selection, by generation, 2021
      • Figure 5: Monthly digital ad spend for Disney+, Hulu and Netflix, 2021
    • Target audio listeners in the car
      • Figure 6: Away from home digital media consumption, by generation, 2021
    • Appeal to old and young audiences alike with nostalgic elements
    • Short-circuit decision fatigue
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • COVID-19 accelerates trend toward digital
    • Video entertainment providers lost lucrative content
    • Audio streaming use now equals that of AM/FM radio
    • Not all written content can transition easily to digital
  4. The Media Landscape

    • Streamed video continues to fill role once held by MVPDs
      • Figure 7: Household MVPD subscriptions, 2018-21
      • Figure 8: Subscription video on-demand viewership in past seven days, by service, 2020-21
    • Streaming fuels growth for the music industry
    • Spotify challenges Pandora in its quest for audio dominance
      • Figure 9: Streaming audio services used in the last 30 days, 2021
      • Figure 10: Streaming audio services used in the last 30 days, 2018-21
    • The future of newspapers is digital
      • Figure 11: Newspaper readership, 2018-21
    • Magazine engagement remains fairly consistent
      • Figure 12: Magazine readership, 2018-21
    • Social media: Facebook still dominates, but use of other platforms grows
      • Figure 13: Daily users of social media platforms, September 2017-21
  5. Market Factors

    • Fear of COVID-19 variants shifts consumer sentiment
    • Wi-Fi enabled cars will keep consumers connected
    • 5G technology is imminent
      • Figure 14: Online Display Carousel Ad for Verizon, 2021
    • Popularity of live streaming is growing
    • Legality of content rights can be complex
    • Paper shortages complicate publishing distribution
      • Figure 15: Percentage of book readers who read print or digital books, 2021
  6. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Strong media brands offer touchpoints across channels
    • Consolidation continues
    • In a media landscape with endless options, convenience could be king
  7. Competitive Strategies

    • Multidirectional engagement
    • Get consumers’ eyes and ears wherever they are
    • Netflix moves beyond streaming to reinforce brand
      • Figure 16: Netflix Book Club with Uzo Aduba | Official Announcement Trailer, 2021
    • Mergers and acquisitions
    • Spotify absorbs smaller podcast networks to gain exclusivity
    • Amazon bought MGM
    • AT&T, Warner Media, Discovery+
    • Marketing strategies
    • Exclusive, regional content gives satellite services an edge
      • Figure 17: Dish Network creative, desktop display, 2021
    • FAST platforms experiment with podcast advertising
      • Figure 18: Pre-roll podcast ad during September 10 episode of “How Did This Get Made?,” 2021
    • Disney+ dazzles with direct mail
      • Figure 19: Twitter post with images of Disney+ mailer promoting Raya and the Last Dragon, 2021
    • The Netflix brand sells itself
      • Figure 20: Monthly digital ad spend for Disney+, Hulu and Netflix, 2021
      • Figure 21: @netflixisajoke Instagram post, 2021
  8. Market Opportunities

    • Mintel Global Trend Drivers
    • Technology: consumers want to be up to date on the latest news
      • Figure 22: Mintel Global Trend Driver, Technology
    • Value: offer convenience to help consumers avoid decision fatigue
      • Figure 23: Mintel Global Trend Driver, Value
    • Experiences: leverage nostalgia for older content
      • Figure 24: Mintel Global Trend Driver, Experiences
    • Brand spotlight: Ocean Spray stumbles into success with the help of Fleetwood Mac
      • Figure 25: Mick Fleetwood recreates viral, cranberry juice-swigging, 2020
  9. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Streaming services continue to gain steam
    • Audio advertisers need to turn up the volume
    • Book publishers may need to turn the page
    • Behind the hearing wheel
    • Word of mouth still overpowers algorithms
    • Few consumers plan to cut back on content
  10. Media Use Overview

    • Significant use levels across all major media types
      • Figure 26: Media use, 2021
    • Video and audio entertainment are essentially universal
      • Figure 27: Media use, by age, 2021
    • Video entertainment and social media best ways to reach adults aged 25-54
      • Figure 28: Media use, by media target age (25-54) and gender, 2021
  11. Video Entertainment

    • On-demand ad-free streaming erodes the effectiveness of TV ads
      • Figure 29: Video entertainment sources, 2021
      • Figure 30: Selected video entertainment sources, 2019-21
    • Men’s devotion to live sports will keep MVPDs alive
      • Figure 31: Video entertainment sources, by gender, 2021
    • Gen Xers straddle line between digital and traditional TV
      • Figure 32: Video entertainment sources, by generation, 2021
    • Black consumers lead in streaming live TV
      • Figure 33: Video entertainment sources, by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
  12. Audio Entertainment

    • AM/FM radio advertising can still reach the majority of adults
      • Figure 34: Audio entertainment sources, 2021
    • The future of audio entertainment is also digital
    • Spoken audio content resonates best with Millennials
      • Figure 35: Select audio entertainment sources, by generation, 2021
  13. Written Media

    • Readers of written media retain connection to printed hardcopies
      • Figure 36: Written media sources, 2021
    • Gendered audiences for print media
      • Figure 37: Written media sources, by gender, 2021
    • Written media consumption closely tied to educational attainment, wealth
      • Figure 38: Written media nets, by educational attainment, 2021
      • Figure 39: Year-to-date online spend for top advertising categories, WSJ.com and NYTimes.com, 2021
  14. Location of Media Use

    • Watch in the home, listen on the road
      • Figure 40: Correspondence analysis, symmetrical map of media consumption location, 2021
    • Audio content has the most versatility
      • Figure 41: Media consumption location, 2021
    • Podcasts remain an underused channel
    • Demographic factors influence location trends
    • Women more likely than men to consume content at home
      • Figure 42: TV/digital video consumption at home, by generation and gender, 2021
    • Younger generations more likely than older adults to consume content on the go
      • Figure 43: Away from home digital media consumption, by generation, 2021
    • Black audiences more likely than other consumer groups to stream video in public
      • Figure 44: Digital video media consumption, by location and race/Hispanic origin, 2021
  15. Influences on Content Selection

    • Friends and family have the most sway
      • Figure 45: Factors that influence consumers’ content selection, 2021
    • Women put greater stock in loved ones’ recommendations than men do
      • Figure 46: Influences on content selection, by gender, 2021
    • Social media reaches Gen Z and Millennial consumers
      • Figure 47: Influences on content selection, by generation, 2021
  16. Shifting Media Habits

    • Very few consumers expect to cut back on media consumption
      • Figure 48: Expected changes in media consumption, by type of content, 2021
    • Men plan to consume more of everything
      • Figure 49: Expected increase in media consumption, by type of content and gender, 2021
    • Millennials have high hopes
      • Figure 50: Expected increase in media consumption, by type of content and generation, 2021
    • Parents look forward to more content time when school starts
      • Figure 51: Reasons for spending more time consuming media, 2021
    • Those who plan to decrease media expect to do other leisure activities
      • Figure 52: Reasons for spending less time consuming media, 2021
  17. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Marketing creative
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  18. Appendix – The Consumer

      • Figure 53: Daily users of social media platforms, 2021
      • Figure 54: Written media use (nets), by generation, 2021
    • Correspondence analysis: Methodology
      • Figure 55: Media consumption location, 2021

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

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