The New Prime Time
The study contains some really powerful conclusions and insights into the at-work audience, which currently stands at 52.8 million according to JupiterMediaMetrix. While many of the findings are intuitively obvious – example: between 9 am and 5 pm, the Internet is the medium consumed most – what is really important here is that these figures are (a) in writing and (b) underwritten by credible third parties.
We’ve known for some time now that Internet activity, as well as e-commerce peaks around lunchtime. Some of us have branded this period as the Internet’s Prime Time (I like the idea of using this traditional media term in order to make an apples to apples comparison with television.)
On any hypothetical day, the average worker bee begins their day with the radio, transitions into the newspaper either at the kitchen counter or on the train into the office and then perhaps resumes reading the paper on the way home. Finally, television kicks in and rounds off the day.
What’s missing is a huge gap between the hours of 9 and 5.
So stew on this for a moment: THERE IS NO OTHER MEDIUM THAT CAN CONSISTENTLY AND COMPREHENSIVELY REACH THE AT-WORK AUDIENCE THAN THE INTERNET (apologies for the caps and bold text, but this needs stressing)
The OPA study suggests we might want to brand the entire office day as Prime Time. And it doesn’t stop there. The research indicates that Web usage continues at home, with a large chunk of e-commerce activity actually taking place after hours.
In fact, from Monday to Friday, the average at-work employee spends more time on the Internet than he or she does watching TV: 34% vs. 30% respectively. This BLOWS AWAY any previous data we’ve been using which places the Internet at anywhere between 11 – 14% of total media consumption.
Sidebar: The corresponding non-work audience figures for Monday thru Friday reveal 26% vs. 44% in favor of television. This is still DOUBLE the previous existing consumption data. It also makes an extremely strong case for the dual scenarios of weekday vs. weekend consumption and potential resultant media allocation and spend.
The case for using the Net to reach the at-work audience is further strengthened by factoring in active vs. passive consumption given to the respective work media. On the weekend, the New York Times gets devoured from start to finish by readers with typically more time on their hands. During the week however, the read is a much quicker and scattered experience, especially during a morning commute.
Contrast this with the amount of time spent on the Web during the day, the frequency and regularity of activities performed, as well as the active nature of the experience as indicated by the proximity of the monitor to the noses of a captive audience.
Also consider the clusters of at-work users. There’s the elusive C-level executive for starters. The crème de la crème of the economic world are still an extremely difficult audience to contact, however ignore them at your peril. Whilst we still believe they’re getting their assistants to print out their e-mails and think the Web is something their kids surf in their spare time, there is a new wave of younger more tech-savvy executives being groomed even while we speak. And then there are their legions of reports that you can bet are using the Web.
Next, there’s the mass in the middle, which covers most of us - 91% of us access the Net from both home and work. But it’s at work that we’re taking advantage of broadband access, where the true possibilities of rich media can soar around our pages. And if you’re concerned about an audio component disrupting the “colleague experience,” be reassured by the growing number of headphones being used in cubicles across America.
Finally, make way for the administrative and support layer of the workplace. Executive, personal and group assistants spend a substantial amount of time in front of their screens and tend to do a lot more surfing than do the first two groups.
This is our wake-up call and golden opportunity to reach the at-work audience during the Internet’s primetime: the workday. It’s about time we shed the 1-3% ad spend shackles standing between our brands and a desirable audience with disposable income and favorable attitudes towards this exciting medium.
- Joseph Jaffe is Director of Interactive Media at TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York, where he works with clients including Kmart, ABSOLUT Vodka, New York City Public Schools, Embassy Suites and Sci-Fi. His primary focus is to highlight interactive's value and benefit in meeting his clients' integrated business and branding objectives.