Saturday, March 22, 2008

It Sure Beats TV

Are you one of the majority of Australians who now spend more time online than flopped in front of the TV?

According to this story, in 2005 Australians spent an average of 8.9 hours online each week. In 2006, the time online was 12.5 hours. In 2007, Australians had ramped up their online activities to almost 14 hours a week.

We supposedly watched an average of 13.3 hours a week watching TV.

The decrease in TV watching time was a possible early warning sign Australia was approaching the feared "media saturation point'', said Tony Marlow, Nielen Online's Asia-Pacific associate research director.

"At saturation, it becomes difficult for consumers to take on any extra media activity without sacrificing something else - posing new challenges for marketing professionals," he said.

Do you live in fear of reaching a "media saturation point"? No, that would be the advertisers.

Apparently Australians devote almost 85 hours a week in total to leisure and soaking up media, up by some 13 hours since 2006.

...the increasing amount of time spent online was not at the expense of other media usage.

People were simply consuming more than one medium at a time, the research showed, with 58 per cent of Internet users saying they had watched TV while online and 48 per cent saying they had listened to the radio.

And that probably explains how most Australians use the internet at home in the evenings. The TV is on, but is no longer the sole focus of attention for most of the evening. Laptops are humming away in our living rooms, snatching our attention away from six minute blocks of blaring ads and TV shows that can no longer dominate our interest now so many of us have this remarkable access to a world of information and media on the coffee table in front of us. Between our brains and whatever is on the TV screen.

As with the music and film industries, the TV industry has also been stupidly slow to work out that the internet would kick its flabby, 20th century butt.

Until it becomes part and parcel of our internet habit, TV as we know it now will continue to lose its already dwindling audience.

We've simply got more interesting ways to spend our time in the evenings and on weekends now. Having to watch a TV show at a set time with 30 percent of that time soaked up by ads, seems almost prehistoric, and pathetic.

We are no longer a captive audience.