A new study from IDC indicates that on average people spend 32.7 hours online a week and only 16.4 hours watching television. Newspapers and magazines get only 3.9 hours of our attention. IDC surveyed 992 Americans aged 15 years and older.
But does this actually mean that the Internet is twice as popular as television? I wouldn’t say that just yet. The total weekly media consumption comes to 70.6 hours in the survey. The press release also doesn’t indicate whether there was simultaneous media consumption.
Barring simultaneous consumption, with seven hours of sleep a night and eight hours of work a day, that leaves about an hour a day for everything other than media consumption. I’d like to think that even I don’t consume that much media in my spare time. The study doesn’t specify whether these hours are only “leisure” time—and I’m gonna bet that most people can’t get away with channel surfing during work.
The study also looked at online activities:
The data also show that consumers tend to use the media they grew up with. The older the respondents, the more they consume TV, newspapers, and magazines; the younger they are, the more the Internet displaces usage of traditional media. Using search engines (84% of respondents), mapping and navigation services (83%), personal research (77%), and using email (76%) are the most frequent online activities.
The 16% that didn’t use search engines would have said yes had the question said “Google” or “Yahoo.” (I’m not entirely joking—I was explaining what I do for my grandfather once. I asked him if he used search engines. He said he didn’t. I asked him if he used Google. He said he did.)
Odd, though, since I know that the stats I gave to clients two years ago said that 88% of Internet users used search engines (NFO Research, though the discrepancy there is probably within the margin of error) and even more used email (90% to 95%). I find it hard to imagine that nearly a quarter of American Internet users aren’t using email at all.
Is the Internet more popular than television? Apparently. But it’s also more portable and more universally accessible (especially from work). Is this even a fair fight?