Internet Usage Rivals TV Viewing
I recently heard an interesting statistic. According to JupiterResearch, Americans now spend the same amount of time using the Internet as they do watching TV — 14 hours per week on average.
Hearing this led me to pause for a moment and reflect on how old I must be, and how things have changed. It seems like just yesterday to many of us B-to-B direct marketers that we started hearing about “the Web.” It was the early ’90s. Today I realize that my wireless network of home computers (I have three) are on 24/7, ready for instant use at any time.
I also realize that like most of you, and most of our customers, I no longer use a printed phone book. I use Switchboard.com. I jump to Wikipedia for information whenever I’m curious. I tossed all my cookbooks last year in favor of recipe searches. I love Priceline.com for bidding on last-minute travel deals. I’m addicted to user reviews and feedback on sites like Hotels.com. I rely on BizRate.com and other such sites for “trusted referrals.”
I find business contacts on LinkedIn.com and long-lost friends on Facebook.com. I find anything obscure via a Google search. I buy my refrigerator water filters from www.fridgefilters.com. I rent movies at Netflix.com and catch up on missed TV shows online. I seldom watch regular TV anymore … not even CNN or The Weather Channel.
To sum it up, I learn everything I need to know from my computer.
Most importantly, I realize I’m now a multichannel B-to-B marketer who thinks Web first and print, phone and other support media second. Yes, times have changed.
While catalogs, direct mail and other traditional media will never go away, I believe the scales have at least balanced or possibly tipped in favor of online media. I also look forward to the not-to-distant future when voice recognition allows us to do a “talk search,” so I won’t have to hunt for my reading glasses first!
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Terence Jukes is president of Ability Commerce, a 140-person firm that designs, builds and runs e-commerce and related marketing programs for catalog companies. He can be reached at