IBM Consumer Study: Internet Rivals Declining TV as Primary Media Source

August 22, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Asia-Pacific | Europe & Middle East | Media & Entertainment | Technology | Television | Youth & Gen X

Audiences have more control and are increasingly savvier about filtering marketing messages, with serious repercussions for marketers, ad agencies, broadcasters, publishers and cable companies, according to a new IBM survey of consumer digital media and entertainment habits. 

The IBM Institute for Business Value survey of more than 2,400 households in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Australia covered global usage and adoption of new multimedia devices and media and entertainment consumption on PCs, mobile phones, portable media players and more.

The global findings overwhelmingly suggest personal internet time rivals TV time, IBM said:

  • Among consumer respondents, 19% stated spending six hours or more per day on personal Internet usage, versus 9% of respondents who reported the same levels of TV viewing.
  • 66% reported viewing 1-4 hours of TV per day, versus 60% who reported the same levels of personal Internet usage.


“Consumers are demonstrating their desire for both wired and wireless access to content: an average of 81% of consumers surveyed globally indicated they’ve watched or want to watch PC video, and an average of 42% indicated they’ve watched or want to watch mobile video,” said Bill Battino, Communications Sector managing partner, IBM Global Business Services.

Moreover, some 23% of respondents reported using a portable music service (e.g., iTunes); 7% reported having a video content subscription for their mobile phones; 11% reported a PC-based music service; and 18% reported an online newspaper subscription, IBM reported.

Consumers are seeking consolidated, trustworthy content, recognition and community in mobile and internet entertainment – and to effectively respond to the shift advertising agencies must go beyond traditional creative roles to become brokers of consumer insights; cable companies must evolve to home media portals; and broadcasters and publishers must raced toward new media formats, IBM said. Marketers, in turn, are being forced to experiment and make advertising more compelling, or risk being ignored, according to IBM.

Some highlights of the findings from the IBM study:
Consumers in a Multi-Screen World

  • TV and the internet are now essentially on an equal footing as entertainment sources, with consumers turning to online destinations like YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, games, or mobile entertainment.
  • 66% of respondents reported viewing 1-4 hours of TV per day, vs. 60% who reported the same levels of personal internet usage.
  • 19% of respondents reported spending six hours or more daily on personal internet usage, vs. 8% who reported the same level of TV usage.
  • 67% of respondents worldwide said they have either watched or would want to watch video online.


  • The most popular video destinations are user-generated-content sites: YouTube-like sites are the destination of choice for 39% of respondents.
  • TV network sites (33%), search engines (32%) and social-networking sites (28%) are third through fourth in popularity for online video.

Television-Viewing Shifts


  • In the largest digital video recorder market, 24% of US respondents reported owning a DVR in their home and watching at least 50% of television programming on replay.
  • Surprisingly, 33% in the US reported watching more television content than before the DVR.
  • More than twice as many UK consumers surveyed use video on demand services than own a DVR, and less than a third of UK consumers have changed their overall TV consumption as a result of DVR ownership.
  • In Australia, despite owning a DVR, most respondents prefer live television or replay less than 25% of their programming.

Online Content Trends

  • Consumers are increasingly contributing to online video or social-networking sites, with 9% of German and 9% of US respondents claim to have contributed to a user-generated content site; 26% of US respondents reported contributing to a social-networking site.
  • While the numbers were slightly less from other countries like the UK (20%) and Japan (9%), they are also significant.
  • Australia topped all countries surveyed with 36% contributing to social-networking sites and 9% contributing to video content sites.
  • Of those who contributed content, an average of 58% worldwide did so for recognition and community, not monetary gain.

Mobile Content Trends


  • In the UK, nearly a third of users who watch mobile TV reduced their standard TV set viewing patterns as a result of new mobile device services:
    • 18% said they reduced “normal” television by a little.
    • 8% reduced “normal” television by a lot
    • 4% altogether substituted television on their regular TV with their new device.
  • For respondents in Germany who had watched mobile video, 23% prefer to view user generated content, and 21% prefer video trailers or promotions.

About the study: Conducted from mid-April through mid-June 2007 by the IBM Institute for Business Value, the internet survey was split 64% female and 36% male. It proportionately reached demographic groups 18 years and over with approximately 45% surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34, 25% surveyed between ages of 35-44, and 30% surveyed age 45 and over. The questionnaire covered 38 questions and generated 885 respondents in the US, 559 respondents in the UK, 338 respondents in Germany, 263 respondents in Australia and 378 respondents in Japan. Respondents reported a range of household salary levels, though the vast majority was under $100,000.

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