Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Americans spend as much time online as they do watching TV (Updated & disputed)

"Americans are now spending as many hours online as they do in front of their TV screens, according to a survey released by Forrester on Monday.
The average American now spends roughly 13 hours per week using the Internet and watching TV offline, Forrester finds, based on its survey of more than 30,000 customers. The Internet has long captivated the attention of younger Americans to a greater extent than TV and is now proving more popular to Gen X (ages 31 to 44) for the first time ever. Younger Baby Boomers (ages 45 to 54) are spending the same amount of time per week using both media.
While the amount of time Americans spend watching TV has remained roughly the same in the past five years, Internet use has increased by 121% in the same time frame."
Source:  Data from Forrester Research, Inc, reported by Mashable, 13th December 2010
Update - some beg to differ:
"The problem is Forrester’s findings don’t remotely square with existing measurement on TV and internet usage. While the study found that in January and February of 2010 consumers reported spending 13 hours per week on both TV and internet, data from Nielsen and comScore (NSDQ:SCOR - News), arguably the most reliable sources for measurement of TV and internet usage, offer a markedly different picture.
ESPN plans to meet Wednesday with Forrester, which counts the sports juggernaut as a client, to share its concerns. “Our fundamental concern is that, in a very confusing media landscape, we’re trying to answer very important questions about the behaviors of consumers,” said Dave Coletti, vice president of digital media research and analytics at ESPN (NYSE:DIS - News). “It’s imperative that we answer questions with the right methods.”
In the first quarter of 2010, Nielsen clocked weekly usage at 38 hours and 44 minutes, nearly three times what Forrester found. Over the same time frame, comScore’s account of internet usage was 7 hours and 24 minutes, about half of what Forrester found.
Why these numbers are so divergent cuts to the heart of the difficulties ESPN has with this Forrester study. The Forrester numbers are entirely based on self-reporting, or what the 30,000 respondents to the survey say is their consumption habits. But that’s a subjective metric different from the kind of metered measurement Nielsen and comScore do. They may have their own well-documented faults, but are at least they’re objective.
But what’s more troubling to Glenn Enoch, vice president of integrated research at ESPN, is that in media-research circles, self-reporting is known to be notoriously slippery. “It’s something we’re generally careful about,” he said.
To wit: In a Video Consumer Mapping study conducted last year by Ball State University Center for Media Design that is widely regarded as a landmark piece of research, one of the key findings noted, “Serious caution needs to be applied in interpreting self-report data for media use. TV was substantially under-reported while online video and mobile video usage were over-reported.”"
Source:  Yahoo Finance/PaidContent, 15th December 2010

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