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Internet killed the video star

May 22, 1998
Web posted at: 2:09 PM EDT

by Lisa Moskowitz

(IDG) -- If you missed the final episode of Seinfeld because you just couldn't tear yourself away from the Web, you're not alone.

According to the Simmons Online Usage Study II, a nationally projectable survey of 38 million adults, 37.1 percent of active Web surfers reported watching less television than they did before having access to the Internet. Only 4.9 percent reported watching more. The study also found that two-thirds of the people surveyed who access the Internet spend at least ten hours a month online. Compared to other communications media, such as print magazines, newspapers, and radio, television experienced the largest audience loss.

Why are people trading in their TV time for Web time? One reason for greater Internet usage could be increased bandwidth, according to a separate report IDC issued in March. While it's true that ISDN lines aren't exactly ubiquitous and cable modem hookups are available only in limited areas, users can upgrade their modems to 56 Kbps. In addition, more powerful back-end technology from ISPs means users can download and watch video clips with greater ease than before. And these video files provide entertainment similar to television's.

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The trend of moving from TV to PC seems likely to continue. Of those the IDC report surveyed, 49.1 percent said they strongly agree that in the future, information and entertainment will be delivered into the home via a PC, while 31.4 percent said they somewhat agree.

Congruent with that finding is the percentage of Simmons Online Usage survey respondents who said they access the Web from home: 77 percent, versus 64 percent who said they surf at work.

So when Jerry and the gang finally break out of jail, don't be surprised if you're watching their great escape from your favorite chair in the family room with a notebook perched on your lap.


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