People are spending more time reading books and watching less TV, according to a survey of media usage per person over the 1986-91 time period by Veronis Suhler & Associates.

The average adult spent 3,256 hours using consumer media in 1991, a slight increase over 1990, but 57 fewer hours than in 1986.

Declines in broadcast viewing offset increases in cable viewing, leaving total TV viewing nearly constant, off about seven hours from 1986. Decreases in time spent listening to radio or reading newspapers and magazines accounted for nearly all of the remaining decline.

Radio listening in the home fell sharply over the 1986-91 period, the result of competition from homevideo and the compact disc. Time spent reading daily newspapers fell to 169 hours per person in 1991, 15 hours fewer than in 1986. Consumer magazine reading also fell, by 21 hours per person.

The time spent reading consumer books, though, rose by 10 hours over the last five years, to 98 hours per person. Time spent listening to recorded music also increased 4.8% to 219 hours.

Dollar-wise, consumers spent the most on homevideo, cable TV and recorded music over the five-year period, with per capita home video spending up 15.7%. to $ 58.56 per person in 1991, and cable television up 11.8% to $ 84.13 per person. Movie box office spending was sluggish, up only 3.9% to $ 23.03 per person.

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