Pew: Internet Eats into TV Time

TV continues to be the medium where Americans spend most of their media time. But the Internet continues to make inroads against TV.

At a recent conference on online video I moderated a panel on video monetization strategies. At the outset I asked how many people in the audience had seen the Tiny Fey impersonation of Sarah Palin on SNL. With only a couple of exceptions almost everyone in the room raised their hands. Then I asked how many had seen the skits on the show itself vs. how many had seen them on the Internet. As I expected the majority had watched the clips on the Internet and not on TV. That’s indicative of the shift going on. 

Source: Forrester Research (2007)

The Pew Internet people put out a report last week on Networked Families (.pdf).  One of the findings in the data is how people are shifting time from TV to the Internet (especially among younger people):

The key TV demographics are watching almost 30% less TV according to these findings. Bad news for TV (and TV advertisers) in general.

Update: I misstated what the data say above. What it actually says is that 29% of 18-29 year olds are watching less TV, rather than watching 29% less TV.


4 Responses to “Pew: Internet Eats into TV Time”

  1. MiriamEllis Says:

    We’ve never had TV in our home. We have a television set, but use it only for documentaries we take out of the library on occasion or for a few programs we own.

    When we want news, are researching something of interest to us or would like to see an interesting video of something, we use the Internet.

    My hope would be that switching from TV to Internet might create a more powerful American society. The internet is not the one-way sport that TV is, and it has the potential to require greater engagement and participation from the user. TV, in my opinion, has turned us into a nation of bystanders and observers, rather than doers.

    But, if the Internet is simply replacing TV as a mode of entertainment, there isn’t a great deal of difference that I can see. It’s the same combination of message + advertising that is displayed to the passive user, rather than the reward of information won by the investigative seeker.

    What do you think about these figures, Greg?

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Internet isn’t a pure entertainment substitute but it is partly used for entertainment. It’s better than TV for some of the reasons you state and is more “two way” but not sure that it’s a cultural net gain. I’m just interested in the shift and how it affects the market.

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