Surfers Prefer Entertainment Superhighway to Information Superhighway

Greenfield Online's bi-annual Netstyles survey reveals that Americans are surfing the "Information Superhighway" primarily for entertainment purposes.

Over 80% of more than 3,000 respondents believe the Internet is a rich, diverse source of entertainment. Rather than principally using the Net for "information," 83%play games on their computer both on- and offline. More of the study participants subscribe to fun/jokes/games updates (5%) than daily news updates (43%), email newsgroups (31%), business updates (30%) or stock market updates (22%).

People are also discovering the convenience of the Internet's "entertainment-on-demand." Some 66% of those with multi-media capabilities are downloading music. Many adults are clicking the mouse rather than clicking the TV remote. Nearly half (44%) of respondents are watching less TV since bringing the Internet into the home. Furthermore, a nearly equal number of respondents consider the TV and the Internet as the most important item in the household.

The study also found that some children are surfing the Web for entertainment, even more than channel surfing, perhaps offering the clearest glimpse of how the Internet will impact the family of the future. The study reveals the older the child, the more likely they are to "login" rather than "tune in":

Age - Use Internet More than Watch TV

5 or younger - 2%

6 to 10 - 8%

11 to 15 - 30%

16 to 18 - 35%

Respondents' comfort level with the Internet resembles that of the television. Just as people have become accustomed to coming home from work and "crashing" in front of the TV, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents logon to the Internet at home, at least several times a week, after work. While online, respondents are also listening to music/radio (61%), eating (58%), watching TV (44%) and talking on the phone (34%).

Signs indicate that the Internet will continue to be a common source of household entertainment in the coming years. More than a third (36%) intend to use the Internet more frequently one year from now than they do right now.

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