Young, Sophisticated Net Users Find TV Expendable

The latest research in the often-visited TV vs. PC debate has found that streaming media users and younger Internet users consider the TV to be an expendable source of background noise, according to Arbitron and Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI).

The Arbitron/Edison Media Research Internet Study found that one-third of Americans with Internet access at home would give up television if forced to choose between television and the Internet. Among “streamies” — those who have ever listened to or viewed streaming media online — the TV faces a bigger challenge. Forty-one percent of streamies are more likely to get rid of their television than their Net access. Streamies who listened to or viewed streaming media in the past week were equally willing to give up television (47 percent) and home Internet access (47 percent).

“When measured on a monthly and weekly basis, streamies are more evenly divided between the choice of giving up television or home Internet access,” said Larry Rosen, president of Edison Media Research. “Our survey shows evidence that streamies are more sophisticated users of Internet technology and rely on it more for entertainment, work, and news.”

The study also found a relationship between a respondent’s age and their choice of medium. Americans between the ages of 12 and 24 are more apt to give up television (47 percent) than the Internet. More than two-thirds of Americans 25 and older would rather send the Internet packing than give up TV.

According to “The TV/PC Connection 2001” study by SRI, when a TV and a PC interact during primetime, the PC is four times more likely to hold consumers’ attention than the TV. Eighty percent of those who use TVs and PCs simultaneously during primetime consider the computer to be their primary activity, while 18 percent cite the TV as commanding more of their awareness.

Outside of primetime, TV’s “share of mind” goes up, but the PC is still dominant in about two out of three cases. SRI also found that roughly one in 10 persons age 12 to 64, and two in 10 online users, linked their TV and PC activities at some point on the day before the survey.

If you to choose between giving up
all of the televisions in your home
or giving up your Internet access at home,
which would you rather give up first?
Total Television Internet Don’t Know/
No Answer
33% 62% 5%
41% 54% 5%
47% 47% 6%
Age 12-24 47% 50% 3%
25+ 28% 67% 5%
25-34 33% 64% 3%
35-44 28% 69% 3%
45-54 27% 65% 8%
55+ 23% 67% 10%
Asked to Americans age 12+ with Net access at home
Source: Arbitron/Edison Media Research

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