Many consumers now think of the internet as being on an equal footing with traditional media such as TV or print, new research in the US has revealed. A media study conducted for the Online Publishers Association (OPA) found that more than 45pc of respondents said the internet was their top media choice, compared with television (34.6pc) and newspapers (3.2pc).
The report asked respondents to compare qualitative aspects of consuming content online versus offline. The findings indicate that online media rate highly in head-to-head comparisons with offline media across all age groups.
Among all respondents aged 18 to 54, the internet and television are clearly the most frequently used media, with 45.6pc of respondents citing the internet as their top pick, followed by 34.6pc who choose TV. The next closest medium is books at 7.5pc, followed by radio (3.2pc), newspapers (3.2pc), videos/DVDs (2.8pc) video/computer games (2.1pc) and magazines (.9pc). The internet – not including email, instant messaging and chat – is more likely to be the top media choice for 18-24 year-olds, with 50.5pc choosing the internet, compared to 28.5pc who chose TV.
Almost all of those polled (97pc) believe that going online is the same or better than magazines when seeking information about products and music. In addition, 83pc said that reading a story on the web is the same or better than reading one in a newspaper, and 67pc reported that watching a short video clip online was the same or better than watching highlights on TV.
Almost half of the survey respondents (47pc) said that they spend more time using the internet now compared to one year ago. In fact, the web was the only medium which registered a growth in usage. More than one third of respondents said that they spend less time playing video games and 28pc said they spend less time watching television.
OPA president Michael Zimbalist commented: “Consumers continue to move beyond purely functional uses of the internet into more media-oriented activities, such as reading stories, looking at photos, and watching video. These results show how receptive people of all ages are to the Internet as a medium and not just a tool.”
By Gordon Smith