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Reaching a Nation of Couch Potatoes

Media study by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association finds pet owners are TV junkies

Media study by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association finds pet owners are TV junkies

You know the messages you want to send to your community—spay and neuter your pets, don’t support puppy mills, make sure your pets have I.D. tags. But often the challenge is figuring out the most cost-effective way to get those messages seen and heard.

For those shelters desperately pinching pennies—and what shelter isn’t?—the findings of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association’s recent survey on the lifestyle and media habits of pet owners are somewhat disheartening. Pet owners spend most of their media time—an almost unbelievable 9 hours a day—watching television. That’s sorry news for those who would love to have TV’s wide audience but don’t have the budget to reach it.

But the APPMA survey reveals some other options for PR folks trying to reach out to the public: Pet owners also spend an average of 2.1 hours listening to the radio, 1 hour reading magazines, 1.5 hours surfing the ’net, and 1 hour reading the newspaper. These activities were categorized by the ages of the survey’s respondents. Not surprisingly, the more time spent on the Internet and listening to the radio, the younger the pet owner was likely to be; those who spent more time reading magazines and newspapers were older.

In terms of leisure time, pet owners listed spending time with their pets as one of their most frequent activities, second only to reading. Other popular activities included renting films, shopping, dining out, going to the movies, surfing online, making crafts, and traveling. There were no significant differences between the media habits of those owning cats and the media habits of those owning dogs.

While those in the animal protection field can keep hoping for cheap airtime, it may be worthwhile exploring new methods of message placement. Would skywriting be cheaper?


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