Simultaneous Web and TV Use Rockets 72 Percent

  |  January 28, 2005   |  Comments

The forecast calls for more integrated multichannel ad campaigns.

The number of minutes adults spend simultaneously surfing the Web and watching TV has increased a dramatic 72 percent, from an average of 174 minutes per week in 2001 to 300 minutes per week in 2004, according to the latest "Media in Mind" survey by Universal McCann.

The survey, conducted annually, polled 6,000 people. Respondents were asked to identify their consumption of all types of media throughout every hour of an average week.

The 2004 Web/TV figure accounts for 20 percent of total weekly TV-viewing time for the average U.S. adult aged 18-49. In 2001, only 11 percent of total TV-viewing time for that age group was accompanied by Web use. The percentage of adult TV-viewing time that is potentially distracted or enhanced by Internet use has almost doubled in three years.

That statistic has both an upside and a downside that marketers should take into account in future multichannel campaigns, said Jim Kite, executive VP and global research director at Universal McCann and lead analyst on the study.

Simultaneous Usage Of TV And Internet Has Increased
Click on graphic to view chart
"The downside is that television advertising is seeming to grow less effective," Kite said. "The upside is if marketers know the type of consumers they are targeting, what their media use is at any given portion of the day, they can build imagery into their television ads referring viewers to the Internet to impart more detailed information."

An example of this is Snapple's redesigned Web site, which complements its new TV and radio campaign, "Return the Favor."

Kite compares the TV/Web multichannel technique to TV/print campaigns that have been used for decades. The television spot builds a desire to buy, while the print ad contains more specific product information.

The study's findings gel with data from a recent report released by the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society. The report finds Internet consumption is much more likely to eat into time spent with friends and family than into time spent watching TV.

Internet Usage By Half Hour Adults
Click on graphic to view chart
Universal McCann also found 8-10 percent of Americans aged 18-54 were online at any given time from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in 2004. That workday bulge of primetime Web usage contrasts sharply with 1999's usage curve, when Internet activity reached its peak in the evening. Back then, less than 3 percent of the same age group were online during the most highly trafficked hours of 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

"The workday Internet audience has increased dramatically over the last five years," Kite said. "Internet use has gone from being a primarily evening activity to something omnipresent in the business environment. The resulting advertising opportunities of connecting a site to the right consumer are huge."

Originally launched in Europe in 1997, the "Media in Mind" survey has expanded to cover over 50 countries across the globe, most recently adding Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

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