US Consumers Now Report Spending Equal Time With TV And The Internet

 There was a lot of buzz last week about Procter & Gamble’s decision to move spend away from TV soaps and daytime dramas and toward digital channels. And our most recent report (our annual look at consumers' online behaviors), published today, supports this trend. For the first year ever, the average time US consumers report spending online is the same that they report spending watching offline TV. While Gen Yers have been spending more time online than watching TV offline for a few years now, this is the first year for Gen Xers. And Boomers now report spending equal time for both. Of course, Seniors Boomers still report spending most of their media time offline.

The data we present in this most recent Technographics® report is self-reported, so the metrics aren’t the same as those you’d see from a Nielsen or comScore. But, the data tells a very important story that is coming directly from the mouths of consumers: They now see themselves splitting the time they spend with offline and online media at least equally. The other interesting piece to this media use puzzle is that, looking over time, this change hasn’t come as a result of a drastic decrease in the time consumers are spending with their TVs. Rather, the change is due to the explosive growth in the time consumers are spending online.

Where is all this available time coming from? Well, some is being drawn from the decreased use of print media, but increasingly people are finding new ways to incorporate the Internet into their daily lives at times where, before, media wasn’t part of the picture. And of course, there’s the issue of multitasking, something younger consumers are especially becoming adept at.

Internet time is also creeping into mobile time, which is another topic we examine in this report. Interestingly, we’ve found that there are very particular types of mobile Internet users — social, information, and media users. Who are the most attractive to target? Take a guess (before you read the report!), and I’ll let you know if you’re right! (For some hints on mobile behaviors you can read these mobile blogs from my colleague Reineke Reitsma.)


**As a note, this report will also be completed for Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America in the new year.


The New Market Research

Thank you so much for posting about this report! I find all of the blog articles at Forrester full of useful market research insights.

I'll be blogging all about related topics each week, so if you're interested please take a look at my blog:


This is definitely some

This is definitely some useful information. I split my time between TV and Internet and I find it relieving. Where would we be without the Internet?!

Streaming Netflix?

What if I watch a movie via Netflix streamed thru an XBox Live connection?

Dennis, as I note above the

Dennis, as I note above the data's self-reported from consumers so it's open to interpretation. The question asks, “In a typical week, how many hours do you spend doing each of the following?” and then lists various media options (TV not online is one). So overall, consumers interpret this as they may. However, on probing with consumers we have found most interpret this as time spent watching regular TV (i.e., tuning in to watch a game or something).

How about us multi-taskers?


I watch TV with my laptop on my lap and tend to multitask (not enough time in a day)- pausing and rewinding the DVR if I missed anything. I bet others do, too. I wonder how folks like myself are skewing the data? Do we report 4 hours of multitasking as one OR the other activity, or do we claim 4 hours of each activity in a given week?

I realize it's up for interpretation, but test developers might need to ask how many of us are "multitasking" in the future.


Thanks Jackie -- I asked

Thanks Jackie -- I asked since I used to do surveys about use of information products so I understand the issues involved. I tend to exclude "regular TV shows" from all viewing but streaming Netflix has allowed me to locate and view documentaries produced by National Geographic and others. These are also available on Comcast On Demand via cable but are much more difficult to access that way. So, being the hair-splitter that I am, I sometimes watch TV shows -- but not on TV!

Dennis McDonald
Alexandria Virginia

I'm all about the

I'm all about the hairsplitting : ). When we fielded this survey only 8% of online US adults were reporting streaming content via an online rental service (this was back at the beginning of this year). Obviously, that landscape is rapidly changing so we'll be doing a little tweaking when we field next year and I can't wait to see the results!