Internet Becoming Preferred Information Source

More than 60 percent of the respondents to a survey by the Content Intelligence Group of Lyra Research chose the Internet for personal and special interest information needs, compared to 18 percent for magazines. When looking for work-related information, 48 percent of the respondents chose the Internet, and only 7 percent preferred magazines.

The study also revealed that once consumers begin using the Web, they use it more frequently as their experience increases, and that these same users also tend to use traditional media sources significantly less.

“The research shows that exposure and experience with the Web is changing consumers’ fundamental attitude toward traditional media,” said John McIntyre, managing editor of Content Intelligence. “In comparison with other media sources, we found that user control is a critical preference attribute of the Internet as a medium, providing individual control over content source, time of access, content depth and other parameters. The survey reveals that there is a fundamental shift in media consumption occurring, and traditional publishers will need to evolve as Web adoption and use increases.”

The first National Internet Study by Scarborough Research also examined the effect of Internet use on traditional media consumption. Almost one-quarter (23 percent) of online consumers indicated they watch television less often since they began using the Internet. Similar declines have also been reported in magazine reading (20 percent), newspaper readership (15 percent) and radio listening (9 percent).

A small percentage of users consume traditional media more often — radio (11 percent), newspapers (9 percent), magazines (8 percent) and TV/cable (7 percent). The majority of online users stated they have not altered their traditional media consumption or they aren’t sure how it changed — radio (81 percent), newspapers (75 percent), magazines (72 percent) and TV/cable (70 percent).

“While the majority of online users report no change in their traditional media habits, the fact that substantial percentages of people report altered behavior is evidence to the continuing evolution of consumer habits,” said Bob Cohen, president of Scarborough Research. “In a relatively short period of time, Americans have adopted new ways of getting their news, doing their shopping and seeking entertainment. The appeal of online media will continue to grow as more American adults gain Internet access at home, at work or through portable devices.”

Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of online users watch television less often since they began using the Internet. But 50 percent of Internet users report that a television is present in the same room as their computer. Nine out of ten (91 percent) people with a TV in the same room where the Internet is used most often said they watched and surfed simultaneously. Over one-quarter (27 percent) of adults, age 18 to 34, surf the Internet and always or often watch TV at the same time.

Internet’s Effect on Traditional Media
TV Magazines Radio Newspaper
Use less often 23% 20% 9% 15%
Use more often 7% 8% 11% 9%
Not altered 70% 72% 81% 75%
Source: Scarborough Research

“With limited hours in a day, consumers seek out ways to maximize the value of their time,” Cohen said. “An opportunity exists for broadcast media who choose to offer more frequent programming that makes use of both the online environment as well as their traditional media.”

Nine percent of users stated a decline in radio listening after they became online users, while 11 percent indicated an increase in any radio usage. Seventeen percent said they often or sometimes listen to Internet-based radio while they are online. Internet radio listeners are veterans of the Web with nearly two-thirds (65 percent) having been online for three or more years.

More than two out of five Internet users (45 percent) have read an online newspaper in the past 30 days. Half of online newspaper readers (55 percent) have logged on to a national newspaper Web site including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Online readers tend to be younger. Forty-one percent are between the ages of 18 and 34 — than traditional daily newspaper readership, where 23 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34.

Scarboroughs’s study found that 48 percent of American adults have used the Internet in the past 30 days, with 55 percent having been part of the online community for three or more years. Forty-two percent of online users have consumed some form of streaming media in the past 30 days. More than one-third (38 percent) listened to streaming audio and more than a quarter (26 percent) watched streaming video.

The study was based on more than 2,000 interviews from adults 18 or older who had accessed the Internet in the past 30 days. It was conducted via an e-survey in 64 leading U.S. markets.

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