Television & Internet Usage

In a previous note (The Impact of the Internet on Television Viewing (9/4/99)), we addressed the issue of the impact of internet usage on television viewing.  From the 1998 Los Medios y Mercados de Latinoamérica study, we produced the following table of average daily televising hours by time spent using the Internet.  There was seemingly no relationship between television and internet usage.

Time Spent Using the Internet in the Last 7 Days

Number of Hours Spent on Television Viewing Per Day
None 5.2
More than zero, less than 1 hour 4.6
Between 1 and 10 hours 5.0
More than 10 hours 4.6
     TOTAL 5.0

 In this article, we move to address the same issue from a slightly different perspective.  We will be referring to data collected in the 2002 MARS OTC/DTC Pharmaceutical Study.  This is a survey of 22,097 adults in the 50 states of the United States of America conducted during the first quarter of 2002.  Within the MARS study, 60% of the respondents claimed to have used the Internet in the last 30 days.  These people spend an average of 4.37 hours per day watching television and 0.78 hours using the Internet.  Among these people, the correlation between television viewing hours and Internet using hours is 0.046, which is just slightly positive (that is, an increase in Internet usage is accompanied by a small increase in television viewing hours).  In the next chart, we show the average daily television viewing hours by Internet usage.  This absence of a strong trend is consistent with what we saw in our previous article on a completely different database.

The next thing we did was to calculate the television and internet usage statistics separately by demographic groups: age/sex groups, educational level and occupation.  For display purposes, we converted the time spent statistics as indices with respect to the overall levels.  That is, if a demographic group watches television 4.37 hours per day, they would have an index of 100; if they watch more than 4.37 hours per day, the index would be larger than 100; if they watch less than 4.37 hours per day, the index would be less than 100.  On the next chart, we plot each demographic group according to the values of the television viewing index and the internet usage index.

We have divided the plot into four quadrants.  The upper-left quadrant contains those demographic groups which spent more time (index>100) on the Internet than the average person but less time (index < 100) on television than the average.  In this quadrant, we find young males, professionals/managers and educated persons.  The lower-right quadrant contains those demographic groups which spent less time (index<100) on the Internet than the average person but more time (index>100) on television than the average.  In this quadrant, we find older people and less educated persons.  

Prior to the advent of the Internet, it was always the case that young men, professionals/managers and educated people were lighter television viewers whereas older people and less educated people were heavier television viewers.  The presence of the Internet did not change these television usage patterns.  


(posted by Roland Soong, 12/22/2002)

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