August 3, 2005
Technology ‘Optimists’ Turn Off TV for Internet
LOS ANGELES -- Broadband Internet surfers in North America watch two fewer hours of television per week than do those without Internet access, while those using a dial-up connection watch 1.5 fewer hours of TV.
The data come from a Forrester Research study released Tuesday that uses what it calls the longest-running survey of its kind, counting nearly 69,000 people in the U.S. and Canada as participants.
Forrester also predicts that the number of broadband households in the U.S., which already soared to 31 million at the end of last year from 2.6 million in 1999, will swell to 71.4 million by 2010.
While its conclusion that Internet usage detract from other media is not new, the study delves deeper than others, separating consumers into various categories, including technology "optimists" and "pessimists" and "tenured nomadic networkers."
Folks making up the latter category have had Internet access in their networked homes for at least five years and own a laptop computer. These nomads watch just 10.8 hours of TV each week.
While newspapers and magazines also suffer a bit from Internet competition, radio and video games do not, the study concludes.
The study defines a tech optimist as believing technology will make life more enjoyable, while pessimists are indifferent or even hostile to technology. Pessimists outnumber optimists 51%-49%.
"Online media attracts technology optimists in droves," says the report, noting that they are three times more likely to use streaming media and peer-to-peer file sharing and read blogs as are their pessimistic counterparts.
Optimists play video games, read magazines and listen to the radio more than do pessimists, while pessimists watch more television. Newspaper reading, according to the study, is identical among the two groups.
Another conclusion reached by the study is that "consumers went device crazy in 2004," snapping up all sorts of digital entertainment gadgets, with adoption rates of many poised for more explosive growth in the next six years.
Experiencing the most rapid growth might be digital video recorders, which will be in 42.7 million U.S. households in 2010, up from 6.2 million at the end of last year.
In the same time frame, DVD recorders will go to 56 million from 12.1 million; MP3 players to 40.1 million from 10.8 million; DVD players to 102.9 million from 76.2 million; and video game consoles to 48.8 million from 40.1 million.
The report, though, appears to give short shrift to satellite radio, not including it in its U.S. household technology adoption forecast -- though it does note in a section on in-car device ownership that cars equipped with satellite radios will double to 5% in 2005 and that buyers of Audis have the highest adoption rate of satellite radios. The same section notes that in-car MP3 players are most popular in Acuras, Isuzus and Lexuses, while in-car video is most popular with GMC buyers.