The Online Publishers Association (OPA) has just published a study called "A Day in the Life: An Ethnographic Study of Media Consumption." The study principally compares the use and reach of TV vs. the Internet in real-time monitoring of 350 users. Here's what the OPA had to say about the findings:
The results show that the Web is now clearly a mass media — ranking right alongside other major media when it comes to reach and duration of use. And when it comes to at-work media use, the study found that the Web clearly dominates (with 54.6% reach, compared to television's 21.1%), and is the only medium that ranks among the top two at both work and home . . .
Consumers often use the Web consecutively or simultaneously with television, radio and other media, allowing it to offer significant support. The research also revealed that the Web is a powerful tool for extending the reach of other media. More specifically, the research found that the Web increased the reach of television by a remarkable 51 percent in the morning, 39 percent in the middle of the day, and 42 percent in the afternoon. With magazine advertising, the impact is even greater — the Web more than doubles the reach of magazines.
This points to the now well-documented fragmentation (and opportunity) in the new more complex media environment. More importantly, it also reflects the need for marketers to have integrated campaigns that include the Internet (and probably search) from the outset. Consumers will be triggered by some traditional medium to go to the Internet for more information or depth. This echoes the post I made some time ago about search as a "consideration" medium, sitting between a traditional media "stimulus" and a real-world/local purchase.
The study also found more buying power among "heavy Web users." The OPA said, "A final key finding of the research is that Web users tend to have greater buying power than television users." This makes sense because this "heavy user" population is characterized by broadband access, which skews toward higher income and education.
Here's MediaPost's write up of the study (reg. req'd).