It could be that it just takes longer to surf the Web than it does to surf channels, but new Forrester Research suggests that people are now spending as much time on the Internet as they are watching TV–and that time spent on the Internet has jumped 121 percent in the last five years.
So should cable executives jump off the Comcast building in Philadelphia or recycle all their set-tops and build only cable modems? Not really. While the research shows that 33 percent of adults use the Internet to watch video (up from 18 percent in 2007) the amount of time they’re spending in front of their TVs has remained pretty stable. It’s likely, according to the report, that people are just abandoning more traditional media like newspapers and the radio–unless, of course, they’re on the Internet.
And therein is the most interesting question posed by the results. Do people consider watching TV–or listening to the radio or reading the newspaper–online to be an online experience or a TV/newspaper/radio experience? The biggest threat to traditional sources, if those sources are worried about where the eyeballs are focused, seems to be on how people view the Internet experience itself: as complementary or as a replacement. And the study, according to the New York Times, doesn’t really address that question.