Wired Young Men Spend as Much Time Online as Watching Television

Wired young men actually spend as much time online as they do watching television, and accessing sports information is the most popular reason they use the Internet, followed by music and product research. That's according to the results of a landmark study conducted recently by Copernicus, The Marketing Investment Strategy Group, and ESPN.com. These findings provide perhaps the most telling sign yet of the significant growth of Internet usage among the highly coveted young male demographic.

The study defined "wired young men" as those 18-34 year old males who access the Internet for personal reasons several times a month or more. ESPN.com is part of Walt Disney Internet Group.

According to this study, 19.5 million men 18-34 now regularly turn to the Internet as a medium for personal use. "SportsCentered" young men, defined as those men who use sports sites several times a month or more, represent approximately 11.7 million of this prime, young male audience. The study revealed that these "SportsCentered" young men consumed even more media than the average wired young male, and exhibited striking patterns of Internet use and demographics compared to non-sports site visitors.

"These findings confirm what has been assumed for quite some time: Internet sports sites offer a viable platform by which marketers can reach a very lucrative demographic," said Robert Shulman, founder of Copernicus. "This information should prove invaluable to media buyers seeking new ways to reach young, active, affluent males."

According to the study, of the 32.2 million U.S. men 18-34, 68% (almost 22 million) have access to the Internet and over 60% (19.5 million) use the Internet at least several times a month for personal reasons:

* Men 18-34 who regularly access the Internet spend 32% of their total media consumption, or 12.2 hours per week, online, compared to 12.1 hours watching television, 9.9 hours listening to radio, 2.1 hours reading magazines and 2.0 reading newspapers.

* Sports is the number one reason (57%) men 18-34 access the Internet, outranking music (49%) and product research (47%).

* One out of five - actually 21% -- of young men 18-34 begin their Web sessions with a visit to a sports site, compared to 12% of young men who log on to news and search sites initially.

* "SportsCentereds" are affluent, active and more apt to purchase online; their mean HH income is $64,000 and 78% have purchased products online in the past six months, averaging one purchase per month. Although television was the preferred medium for sports, some 21% of "SportsCentereds" would choose sports sites if they were given only one medium to follow sports.

The study, conducted over the past three months, involved an online sample of 4,612 males. A separate telephone incidence survey was conducted amongst 1,445 respondents to size the audience and allow for total online audience projections of men 14-49 who regularly access the Internet, use t