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Internet Users Tune In

17 Sep, 2002 By: Hive News

Nearly half (48 percent) of Internet users regularly watch television and have a television and PC in the same room, Internet behavioral analyst firm comScore Networks, Inc. reported today.

The survey of U.S. residents aged 18 and older who used the Internet from a PC in the first quarter of 2002 appears to show blurring lines between television and Internet media and resulting opportunities to reach consumers via simultaneous media delivery and interactivity.

The survey also found that 47 percent or respondents are regular television viewers but do not have a television and PC in the same room. The remaining 5 percent of Internet users report they do not watch television at all.

Among the 45.1 million wired adults that have television and PC in the same room, nearly half (47 percent) reported they frequently use the Internet while watching television, 29 percent reported doing so occasionally, 18 percent reported rarely and only five percent reported never doing so.

"This study is a wake-up call for media companies, as it reveals a startling connection between television and the Internet," said Peter Daboll, division president of comScore Media Metrix. "The opportunity to deliver integrated programming and promotions is clearer than ever. These findings are a benchmark to help companies develop stronger relationships between visitors, viewers and customers."

While some Internet activity during television viewing is associated with television content, the majority is not; 15 percent of those with a television and PC in the same room reported visiting a Web site about the television show being watched; 11 percent reported sending e-mail or chatting online about a show being watched; 11 percent reported searching for listings or television reviews; and 10 percent reported researching or browsing products featured on a television show or in an advertisement – a finding that could impact interactive TV development.

Conversely, 74 percent reported conducting other online activities unrelated to the television show being watched; and 52 percent reported using the computer for offline activities.

"The prevailing understanding of how the Internet can interact with TV is misguided and needs to catch up to the reality revealed by the data," said Daboll. "While the early fears of the Internet were that it would steer people away from prime-time viewing, the real threat to TV is that the Internet is steering away viewers' attention while they are watching TV and surfing the Internet simultaneously."

"Advertisers have to understand that viewers are often dividing their attention between two media, making the Internet a flexible and efficient advertising platform as users turn their attention to the Web during TV commercial breaks or uninteresting programming,” Daboll noted. “TV programmers need to understand they are competing against the Internet for viewers' attention and that efforts to extend the TV experience online in some instances could run counter to the way people are using the two platforms in the first place."

Among adult Internet users in the first quarter of 2002, 30 percent reported that NBC was the major television network they watched most often; 20 percent reported Fox; 14 percent reported CBS and 13 percent reported ABC. Smaller networks also drew Web-surfing fans: 5 percent reported the WB was the network they watched most often; five percent reported PBS; four percent reported UPN; and two percent reported PAX.

Among respondents in the first quarter of 2002, 63 percent subscribe to a cable service, 22 percent subscribe to a satellite television service, two percent use Tivo and 14 percent do not use a subscription-based television service.

"This first release of television viewing data among active Internet users has immediate implications for marketing strategies that capitalize on this connection," said Daboll. "Continuously monitoring and understanding the relationship between online and offline programming, as well as purchasing, will become more important as media consolidation and convergence continue."

All PC-based Internet usage data cited herein were collected from the comScore Media Metrix Internet user panel, wherein each participant's Internet behavior is passively and electronically monitored via comScore's measurement technology. Data regarding television viewing are collected from the same panel members via survey.

This is the first in a series of data on the relationship between new and traditional media consumption, derived from comScore Media Metrix' Audience insite Measures (AiM) system. AiM is the only service to continuously and electronically monitor and combine PC-based online usage behavior with qualitative consumer information, including: technology ownership and usage, demographic, lifestyle, attitudinal, purchase and offline media-consumption data.

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