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Americans abandon T.V. for Internet
December 27, 2010, 8:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

NY TIMES: Americans are now spending as much time using the Internet as they are watching television, and the amount of time people spend on the Internet has increased 121 percent over the last five years, according to a survey published Monday by Forrester Research.

While people younger than 30 years old have spent more time with the Internet than television for several years, Forrester’s survey shows that this is the first year that people in older age groups are also doing so.

The amount of time spent on the Internet for personal uses tails off among older groups, ranging from about 12 hours a week for adults under 30 to about eight hours for people over 66 years old.

(Several readers have pointed out that these numbers are far below Nielsen’s numbers on television use. Because Forrester’s data are self-reported, they are not comparable to the widely cited usage numbers from Nielsen; people tend to say they watch less television and use the Internet less than they actually do. But because Forrester has been collecting data using its own methods consistently for years, it can compare its own usage data from this year to corresponding data from previous years.) At first glance, this seems like further evidence of the much ballyhooed, if statistically suspect, trend of cord-cutting, whereby people transition from watching television to streaming online video.

Pay TV subscriptions in the United States are down this year. In addition, wireless carriers like Verizon and Sprint have been encouraging the idea that faster new wireless networks could serve as a substitute for landline broadband services.

So cable companies that bundle broadband access with cable television service are seeing threats on multiple fronts.

Forrester’s survey does show a significant increase in the number of people using the Internet to watch streaming video; 33 percent of adults surveyed this year said they use the Internet to watch video, up from 18 percent in 2007.

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