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Web users are spending as much time online as they are watching TV, accordingto WebCensus, a quarterly study released by San Francisco-based ad network LinkExchange and investment bank Hambrecht & Quist .

Web users are spending as much time online as they are watching TV, according to WebCensus, a quarterly study released by San Francisco-based ad network LinkExchange and investment bank Hambrecht & Quist.

More than 100,000 Web users completed the survey, making WebCensus “the most comprehensive report of its kind and paving the way for future issues,” LinkExchange said.

Each future survey will have a different theme and will be co-published by LinkExchange and Hambrecht & Quist.

Conducted from Jan. 5 to February 28, 1998, the study polled over 100,000 web users on their usage of the Web as opposed to other media. The WebCensus results will be published in full in a Hambrecht and Quist report online at webcensus.com.

“Due to the vast reach of our network, we were able to record over 100,000 completed surveys in just a month and a half,” said Tony Hsieh, co-founder of LinkExchange. “Clearly, the Web is an effective medium for conducting research polls, especially when an expansive distribution channel like the LinkExchange network is leveraged.”

Of the users surveyed for WebCensus, 40% were women and 60% were men, reflecting a fairly balanced picture of gender-based usage. The study found that the Internet demographic is highly educated (over 60% have been to college), young (median age: 30 years) and affluent; (median yearly income: $50,000.) About half of the users polled were single (never married or currently divorced).

The results showed that the Web is stealing eyeballs from other media. About 22% of the users surveyed said they spend less time on TV because of the Web and approximately 12% spend less time on newspapers and magazines. Radio lost the least amount of time however, with only 3% of the respondents reporting that they favor the Web over radio usage.

Interestingly, more than half of those surveyed feel that their use of the Internet is in addition to their use of other media and not a replacement.

“In its first issue, WebCensus has already uncovered market trends that are very important to the Internet and investment communities,” said Daniel H. Rimer, Internet analyst with Hambrecht & Quist.”

Next quarter’s report will focus on electronic commerce.

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