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September 9, 2002
Study: Web Leads in Reaching Business Execs
By Christopher Saunders

The Internet is one of the chief channels to reach business decision-makers, according to a new study conducted by Nielsen//NetRatings , MORI Research and The Washington Post Co.'s online unit.

The study, based on a survey of about 1,000 business decision-makers conducted by NetRatings' @plan unit, MORI and washingtonpost.com, found that a majority -- 60 percent -- said the Web is the best way for advertisers to reach them. Magazines and newspapers followed at 55 percent and 45 percent respectively, while television came in just about 30 percent.

Almost 50 percent of the respondents said the Web has influenced them to make a purchasing decision for their business, while 35 percent said they had been influenced by magazines, and 20 percent by television. Seventy-seven percent said they considered Web the best channel through which to find out about new products and companies -- more than twice as many as the next highest medium, magazines.

The study also found that increased usage of the Web by decision makers is leading directly to their decreased usage of leading traditional media. About a fifth of the respondents said they use the Web at least five hours per workday -- excluding e-mail use.

About 55 percent of the respondents said they had increased their Web usage during the past year. Half of those said they have decreased their television viewing as a result, while about 45 percent said they read fewer magazines or newspapers. An additional 40 percent of the survey's respondents said they expect to increase their Web use during the next year.

About a third of the respondents came from organizations with more than 2,000 employees, while another third came from small businesses and startups, according to @Plan.

Still, some questions remain. For one thing, the study skews slightly toward the Internet-savvy -- simply by dint of it being disseminated online, via the washingtonpost.com site. As a result, a greater number of respondents -- about 18 percent -- came from the high-tech and media industries than other sectors. Public-sector and educational decision-makers also comprised about 21 percent of the respondents.

In addition, the study found that while the majority of respondents said they preferred to receive new product advertisements via the Internet, they ranked television higher than the Internet in terms of having ads that they remember for "a long time," 43 percent versus 17 percent. Fifty-four percent also agreed that television has interesting ads, while only 30 percent agreed that the Internet did as well.

And of course, washingtonpost.com has a vested interest in promoting its audiences and seeing online advertising in general do well.

Despite such caveats, the researchers say the study contributes to the growing body of evidence in favor of Web media -- particularly news-type sites -- as a sort of work-day "prime time," during which high-income consumers and business buyers are best-reached via the Internet.

"The findings show that the Web, and particularly online news, has established itself as a powerful medium for reaching and influencing business decision makers," said Carolyn Clark, Internet media analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings. "Not only are business decision-makers spending more time on the Internet when compared to other media, more than 60 percent recommended online advertising as a key marketing vehicle to reach them."

That argument has been central to trade groups like the Online Publishers Association, in which washingtonpost.com is a participant. Members of the organization recently unveiled an ad network initiative designed to sell dayparts to advertisers looking to reach at-work audiences.

"The findings of this washingtonpost.com study provide further proof that online advertising is the best way for smart marketers to reach the most influential audiences," said OPA Executive Director Michael Zimbalist. "Their usage is concentrated during the daytime, while they are at work and undistracted by other media choices."

Earlier this year, the OPA commissioned a study indicating that concluded that the Internet was the dominant medium during the workday, and second only after work to television.

Pew Internet and American Life Project Study:

Survey: Web's Novelty Down, Usefulness Up in U.S.
Sun Mar 3,12:07 PM ET
By Andy Sullivan

Overall Internet Usage

Daily Internet Usage

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Internet has lost its novelty for many U.S. users but is turning into an increasingly important tool for everyday living, according to a study released on Sunday.

As Internet users gain more online experience, they reported a slight dip in the length of the average online session -- from 90 minutes to 83 minutes over the course of one year, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found.

But experienced users said they were more likely to use that time for activities like working from home, checking bank-account balances and making travel reservations, rather than simply browsing.

E-mail has lost its novelty as well, the survey found, as users said they sent messages to distant friends and relatives less frequently. But users are more likely to rely on the medium to express worries, ask for advice or send other serious messages.

"The Internet has gone from novelty to utility for many Americans," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew project. "They are beginning to take it for granted, but they can't imagine life without it."

Many experienced users said the Internet modified their "offline" behavior as well. One out of four said they spend less time watching television, while nearly one in three who shop online said they have spent less time shopping in "bricks and mortar" stores as a result.

Internet users were more likely to bring their work home with them, the study found. Fourteen percent of those surveyed said the computer network increased the amount of time spent working from home, while 5 percent said their work at home had decreased.

The survey did not find a dramatic increase in telecommuting, as only 6 percent said they spent less time in traffic because of their Internet use. That figure jumped to 30 percent for those who said they worked more from home.

Unwanted junk e-mail, or "spam," led the list of complaints, with 44 percent saying it was a problem. More than half said they had received an e-mail with pornographic content.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project tracked 1,501 Internet users over the course of a year, from March 2000 to March 2001. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

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