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TV is so Last Year

Not that we really needed any further confirmation that this Internet thing is a real game changer, but hey – statistics are fun!

But actually, this particular stat is quite intriguing. According to some new research from Forrester, Americans now spend as much time online as they do watching TV – about 13 hours/week for each. The research contrasts with some other recent stats on the viewing habits of Americans from Nielsen, which says Americans watch an average of about 5 hours of TV/day, which they say is “more than ever,” but there is no denying from both surveys that while TV viewing continues to increase, the growth of time spent online is exploding in comparison.

Online video, and mobile video, too, are seeing huge growth in viewership. Amidst talk about Cable companies seeing declines in subscribers throughout 2010 as more people ‘cut the cord’, one has to believe that we may really be witnessing the end of TV’s dominance as a medium for reaching consumers through various types of marketing.

Sitting from where we are in the PR industry, this might seem incredibly obvious. We spend probably 8 hours/day online in one way or another tracking news, working with clients, doing research and pitching reporters. But for every one of us, there is someone who may only check their email once-a-day for 10 minutes, and there are plenty of people that don’t have Internet access of any kind at all (though that demographic is very-steadily shrinking, too).

But then, 13 hours-per-week, or even five hours-per-day if you believe Nielsen’s stat, of just sitting watching TV seems like an unbelievably long time. I might watch 5 hours all week.

But this move away from static TV to the  Internet as a medium to consume our entertainment, news and connect with people is certainly exciting. It means marketing as a 2-way method of communication will only become more important. Interactive communication will only be more common. And critically, it will mean that the ways companies try to reach their consumers will need to become more honest – because if a consumer is turned off by a particular message they can navigate away from it and go consume it somewhere else.

And hopefully, it will mean fewer annoying ad jingles to get stuck in your head for days on end…

This post was first published by Nate Hubbell on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.

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