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Employers who frown upon Internet surfing during office hours may have good reason to be upset. The number of people who go online at work for personal reasons reached almost 53 million in 2001, up from 45 million in 2000, and is expected to increase to 58 million by the end of this year. According to a recently released study, working professionals spend more time on the Internet during a typical workweek than watching TV.

The study on media consumption was commissioned by the Online Publishers Association (OPA), a New York City-based industry trade organization. It was conducted by market research firms Millward Brown IntelliQuest in Austin, Texas, and Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Lightspeed Research, between Nov. 6 and 10, 2001. A sample of 1,022 Internet users, weighted to reflect the U.S. Web population, were recruited from Lightspeed's Web panel and included 755 people who had accessed the Internet from work in the past 30 days, and 272 who had accessed it from home, school or elsewhere. The study, released in January, specifically disregarded time spent using the Internet for e-mail.

According to the findings, Internet users who log on at work spend 34 percent of their total media consumption time with the Internet, and 30 percent with TV. For comparison, Internet users who log on from home or elsewhere spend just 26 percent of their total media time with the Internet and almost half (44 percent) with TV.

The at-work online group offers advertisers more attractive demographics than users who log on from home. For example, 70 percent of at-work users have at least a Bachelor's degree, compared with 50 percent of nonwork Internet users, and 45 percent report annual household incomes of more than $75,000, compared with 22 percent of nonwork Internet users. The at-work group is also younger: 44 percent are ages 18 to 34, compared with 26 percent of the nonwork users.

At-work online users also tend to rely on the Internet as a resource: 57 percent of this group say they prefer to find out about new products on the Internet than from any other media source. Forty-three percent agree that the Internet has advertising that is rich in information, compared with just 18 percent who believe TV ads offer them the same. Similarly, 42 percent of at-work Internet users say that the Web provides advertising that “helps me decide what to buy,� compared with TV (35 percent), magazines (33 percent), newspapers (27 percent) and radio (14 percent).

The two groups also display strikingly different online behavior. In a typical week, the at-work bunch is more likely than nonwork users to visit retail shopping sites (45 percent vs. 34 percent), financial services sites (44 percent vs. 34 percent) and travel-related sites (33 percent vs. 23 percent).

For more information, call Katy Richardson at (512) 347-2932.


Forty-three percent of Internet users who log on at work say that the Internet has innovative advertising, compared with just 29 percent of Internet users who log on from home or elsewhere and say the same.

is where modern and up-to-date brands advertise 63% 40%
is where I prefer to find out about new products 57% 44%
is where I prefer to receive information about companies 54% 50%
has innovative advertising 43% 29%
has advertising that is rich in information 43% 33%
has advertising that helps me decide what to buy 42% 32%
is a place where successful brands advertise 42% 31%
has advertising that is relevant to me 40% 28%
has advertising I always notice 22% 21%
Source: Online Publishers Association/MBIQ Media Consumption Study
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