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INTERACTIVE;REVISITING THE NET NUMBERS GAME;INTELLIQUEST, NIELSEN TALLY TRAFFIC AND USAGE

By Published on .

Get ready for another round of data tallying up how many people are on the Internet.

IntelliQuest this week reports that 35 million U.S. residents age 16 and over have accessed the Internet or online services in the past three months. But narrow the window to those who go online five or more hours per week, and the figure falls to 13.8 million.

Nielsen Media Research and CommerceNet, meanwhile, this week plan to issue their second joint survey of Web demographics and expect to report "very strong growth," said David Harkness, Nielsen senior VP.

The first study, released last fall, found 24 million people 16 and older in the U.S. and Canada had used the Internet in the past three months. Nielsen came under fire for its methodology, although the company stood by its numbers.

According to the IntelliQuest telephone survey, conducted among 5,000 people in April and May, about 52% of users went online for general news, compared to 76% who watch or read news daily offline. Online users also say they are avid readers, with 32% reading an online magazine each month and 61% calling themselves avid book readers, compared to 47% of the general population.

The audience, which is 64% male and 36% female, is still slow to respond to online banking (7% have tried transactions), but e-mail is ever-popular: 75% of Web users sent or received messages in the month before the survey.M

Contributing: Debra Aho Williamson.

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