Web Joins TV, Radio as Dominant Pure Reach Vehicle

OPA Study Says Online No. 2 At-Home Medium

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- There's an awful lot of interaction between various media, confirmed one of the latest studies about how people use media in an average day. And as a pure reach vehicle, the Web is emerging as a dominant player.
About 20% of all Web usage occurs while viewing TV or immediately before or after.
About 20% of all Web usage occurs while viewing TV or immediately before or after.

Top at-work medium
In fact, the Web ranks as the top at-work medium (followed by radio) and the second greatest reach vehicle at home, after TV. Even then, the link between TV and the Web is striking: About 20% of all Web usage occurs while viewing TV or immediately before or after.

The results of the study, just released by the Online Publishers Association, jibes with the industry trend that has interactive and digital experts sitting side by side with those that create and buy media for more traditional advertising.

Observational study
In terms of both reach and duration, TV indexed the highest, followed by radio, which was closely trailed by online. The data is from an observational study of how people use media: Conducted by Ball State University, the study's researchers followed 350 adults on average for 13 hours, about 80% of the waking day. Pam Horan, president of the OPA, said diary or telephone polls tend to undercount the use of media, which is why her association commissioned the observational study.

Today the Web reaches just over 60% of people for about two hours a day; 10 years ago it reached 10% for less than an hour. TV, by contrast, reaches 90% of people for more than four hours.

Creating media plans
The study will help advertisers understand how to create better media plans -- especially video strategies, said Dan Goodman, senior partner at Ogilvy Interactive, New York, who said he is advocating a more integrated approach.

"When interactive becomes such a pervasive part of a daily experience, it's more the norm than the exception, so why isolate it?" he asked.

The study also said, perhaps understandably, that dominant Web users skew more affluent than dominant TV users. Additionally, Web users spend more -- $5,000 more annually at the retail level. Perhaps less expected, the Web showed fewer variations in use by age and gender than other media, suggesting it's not just a youth medium.

The OPA is hoping the study convinces advertisers to bring their online ad spending into parity with the time people spend online.

Dollars spent vs. time consumed
"That's the gestalt of this whole thing," said Pam Horan, OPA president. "Veronis Suhler Stevenson numbers said 8% of ad dollars are going to the Web but 17% of time is dedicated to that."

Additionally, she said, "we wanted to understand the value of the Web audiences. ... They're delivering a valuable audience and if we compare it to TV, you may even have a more valuable audience."
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