Internet Use Explodes, Occupies As Many Hours As TV

A new survey by Forrester tracking U.S. consumer activity has revealed that the Net has caught up with TV as a pastime. Not that TV has lost any hold on us — both suck 13 hours of our time a week on average. Here’s why that means big things for Web-based TV.



A new survey by Forrester tracking U.S. consumer activity has revealed that the Net has caught up with TV as a pastime–and while TV’s not going away just yet, this pretty much cements the future of web-based TV. 

Forrester has been carrying out this kind of research for years, but this is the first year in its surveys of U.S. consumers–40,000 of them, in this case–that the amount of time spent watching TV has been equalled by time spent online. Both see the average U.S. consumer devoting 13 hours a week. 

But the TV figure hasn’t drifted down appreciably. Rather Net use has exploded upwards, riing 121% over five years, displacing other activities like listening to the radio and reading magazines and newspapers offline. And what are they doing online? Shopping (about two thirds of responders shop online, up from a third in 2007) and using social networks like Facebook (35% of responders do this regularly, up from 15% in 2007). But email is still the biggest draw, with 92% of people saying this is one of the things they regularly do online. Reading blogs is only something that about 18% of the surveyed group did often, including you.

The survey tells us one important fact: Net TV is confirmed as the coming thing. It can incorporate some aspects of social networking, via sharing and real-time chat, and include widgets, like a constant weather report, that you can’t get with regular TV. It has the on-demand abilities of TiVo, and it can be cheaper than cable. It’s a natural blend of the two technologies of the Internet and traditional TV, which places it in an excellent position to quickly change the market. In future surveys, Forrester may soon have to have a separate category for Net TV on its own.

Read about why everyone — CNN, MTV, Conan, and even Google — is tweeting about the future of interactive entertainment.

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