Many Surf Net and Channels Simultaneously

Giving new meaning to the term “multi-tasking” are reports from comScore Networks, Inc. revealing that 47 percent of the 45.1 million wired U.S. adults that have a television and a computer in the same room frequently surf the Net and the channels simultaneously.

Twenty-nine percent said they occasionally used the Internet and watched TV at the same time; 18 percent rarely surfed simultaneously; and only 5 percent reported never doing so.

The analysis determined that 48 percent of Internet users regularly watch television and have a television and PC in the same room; 47 percent are regular television viewers but do not have a television and PC in the same room. The remaining 5 percent of Internet users report they do not watch television at all.

The research indicates that the majority of Internet activity that occurs during TV viewing is not related. Of those with a television and PC in the same room, 74 percent reported conducting other online activities unrelated to the television show being watched; and 52 percent reported using the computer for offline activities.

Only 15 percent reported visiting a Web site about the television show being watched and 11 percent reported sending email or chatting online about a show being watched. Eleven percent reported searching for listings or television reviews; and 10 percent reported researching or browsing products featured on a television show or in an advertisement.

Internet users are a television-oriented market, according to comScore. Among U.S. Internet users in the first quarter of 2002, 63 percent subscribe to a cable service, 22 percent subscribe to a satellite television service, 2 percent use a Tivo device and 14 percent do not use a subscription-based television service.

“This study is a wake-up call for media companies, as it reveals a startling connection between television and the Internet,” said Peter Daboll, division president of comScore Media Metrix. “The opportunity to deliver integrated programming and promotions is clearer than ever. These findings are a benchmark to help companies develop stronger relationships between visitors, viewers and customers.”

ComScore’s findings corroborate research conducted by Knowledge Networks/SRI in May 2002 revealing the link between simultaneous TV/Internet usage.

Knowledge Networks/SRI found that convergent TV/Internet use between 6PM and 9PM on weekdays was indicated by 11 percent of adults 35 to 49; 13 percent of men 18 to 34; 8 percent of women 18 to 34; and 13 percent of teens (ages 12 to 17).

Data on convergence can be invaluable to marketers who are concerned with how to reach groups that divide their attention.

“The prevailing understanding of how the Internet can interact with TV is misguided and needs to catch up to the reality revealed by the data,” said Daboll. “While the early fears of the Internet were that it would steer people away from prime-time viewing, the real threat to TV is that the Internet is steering away viewers’ attention while they are watching TV and surfing the Internet simultaneously.”

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