IAB report: Internet use affects traditional media

The Internet is now an integral part of the UK media diet, with more than half of the adult population – 19 million people, or 46 per cent of UK households – online. The figures come from a new report published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The IAB’s UK office says that while the performance of individual websites continues to grow, the shift is having a major impact on media consumption. It claims:

25 per cent of Internet users watch less television

11 per cent of Internet users read fewer magazines

11 per cent of Internet users read fewer newspapers

Four per cent of Internet users watch fewer videos.

Today’s Internet users in the UK on average log on for more than nine hours a week, says the IAB. This reduces the amount of traditional media they consume. The IAB claims that some websites have a greater monthly reach than many radio and TV stations, some national newspapers and entire sectors of the magazine industry.

IAB UK chairman and chief executive Danny Meadows-Klue says: “Half the country is now online and Internet users have dramatically changed their media diet. The online population has grown fourfold in three years, and traditional media is losing out to Web-based news, entertainment and shopping. The Internet debate is no longer about the technology, but about how it fits into people’s lifestyles.”

Meanwhile, IAB’s European office has put together data which shows that, for the first time, there are now more people connected to the Internet in Europe than in North America or Asia Pacific. According to the new figures, Europe has 186 million people connected, the US and Canada have 183 million, and Asia Pacific 168 million.

Europeans account for 32 per cent of global Internet users. The country with the highest rate of Internet penetration at the end of May 2002 was Iceland, with 70 per cent of its population having access to the Internet. Sweden is next, with 65 per cent, followed by Denmark (60 per cent), Hong Kong (60 per cent) and the US (59 per cent).

Completing the top ten are the Netherlands (58 per cent), the UK (57 per cent), Norway (54 per cent), Australia (54 per cent), and Canada (53 per cent).

IAB Europe says that by the end of 2001, the average time spent online per user each month was eight hours. However, this figure covers a broad range of experiences, with German and Spanish users spending ten hours or more online a month compared to just six hours in Italy and France. Typically, countries in Eastern Europe have lower average times and lower numbers of website visits.

In Europe the Internet attracts a more upmarket, male audience than in the US, according to the report. More men – 63 per cent – are online in Europe. Of the total online European audience, 52 per cent are under 35 and 41 per cent have a high standard of living. These figures compare with 50 per cent of men being online in the US, where 53 per cent of users are under 35 and just 32 per cent have a higher standard of living.

Meadows-Klue, who is also European president of the IAB, hails the data as “a turning point in the Internet’s development. The world’s focus is shifting to Europe. Online media is coming of age.”

The IAB research, which is packaged as seminars, is compiled from the following sources: ABC Electronic, BARB, NRS, RAJAR, Netvalue, AC Nielsen and Starcom. For more information on the subject, visit IABuk.net and IABEurope.ws.

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