08 March 2006

TV losing the battle for our attention

According to a survey by search engine giant Google, the average Briton now spends more time shopping online and surfing the web than watching TV. Whilst the survey found that we spend 148 minutes a week watching TV, the average person in the UK now dedicates 164 minutes to online activities. One-third of those questioned said they planned to increase the time they spend online. Within 10 years the internet has reached over a billion worldwide users, something television took decades to emulate.

While these figures do indicate the growing wave of online consumption, they fail to take into account two important facts. Firstly, TV companies are increasingly delivering their channels over the internet and therefore the two are not mutually exclusive. However, perhaps more importantly at present, is the fact that many people spend eight hours a day in front of a computer screen at work. In most cases they are connected to the internet and another recent survey showed that people spend two hours a day browsing the web when they should be working. This has undoubtedly increased the figures for internet consumption. However, it is also important to note that in most houses there is just one computer hooked up to the internet, usually resulting in just one person browsing the web. In the case of the television set there are usually multiple people watching it who, in future, may spend that same time online when households get more computers linked up to the web.

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