Users and Viewers

Now that there are more small screens (i.e. TV and computer monitors) than ever before to divert our attention, it’s only natural to wonder how our collective screen life is affecting our lives. For example, do people who watch a lot of TV also surf the Internet? (Answer: yes.) Does the amount of TV determine what kind of sites people like to log on to? (No.)

According to new data on media convergence from Nielsen Media Research, New York, and Milpitas, Calif.-based Nielsen NetRatings, the viewing habits of TV watchers and the surfing habits of Web users appear to, well, converge. For example, the data–from June 2001 and culled from a panel of 500 members–showed that Web users are extremely capable of holding onto both their computer mice and remote controls at the same time: close to 70 percent of all panel members, in June, had at least once surfed the Web while they were tuned to their TVs.

In perhaps the data’s most telling finding: heavy Internet users watched 19 percent more TV than people who did not use the Web even though they had access.

So, is it that once you’ve seen one screen, you want to see them all? You can decide for yourself from the convergence data below.–Sid Ross

In June 2001:
–Twenty-four percent of all the time panel members spent on the Net was also spent tuned to the TV.

–People who were not active on the Net spent 7.9 percent of their total TV viewing time watching the news. Heavy Net users spent 10.9 percent of their TV viewing time watching the news. Not-active Net users spent 5.3 percent of their time watching sports; heavy Net users: 7.7 percent.

–Eighty-one percent of all teenagers who were active on the Web also, at least once, had the TV on at the same time they were online. The TV was on for 19 percent of all the time teenagers spent on the Internet.

From December 2000 to May 2001:
–CNN reached more people than any other news service with a presence in the online and offline world. CNN and Headline News, along with their co-branded Web sites, had an average monthly reach of 53 percent of the people on the convergence panel. Other top scorers: MSNBC, 32 percent average monthly reach; CNBC, 29 percent; Fox News Channel, 25 percent. All figures represent the TV news services and their co-branded Web sites.