LONDON: Surfing the web has overtaken watching the TV as the favourite pastime of Britons, according to a survey commissioned by search engine Google. The survey, which covered more than 1,000 adults in the age group pf 16-64, found that on an average a person spend 164 minutes online every day, meaning 41 days a year, against 148 minutes watching television, which is equivalent of 37 days a year.
Men have been found to better women in surfing averaging 172 minute a day against 156 minutes a day by the latter. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents said they improved their online habit in the last one year, the highest increase being among the 16-24 year range.
On regional basis, people in the Greater London area spent the longest time on the net, an average of 181 minutes a day. They were also the largest online spenders, spending as much as 517 pounds a year buying goods and services online.
The average online shopper spends 446 pounds buying things on the net, which may range from groceries and clothes to holidays and cars.
The people who use the net the least are from the South and East, averaging 155 minutes, and the North West, averaging 142 minutes, the survey found.
Google UK’s Richard Gregory said this is not changing of guard, but shows how “people think about the place the internet has in their lives”.
Google’s claim is, however, contested by studies conducted by a television audience ratings group, Barb, which said its January figures showed a person viewed television on an average for 238 minutes a day. The firm uses electronic measurement in estimating the extent of television viewing.
Media watchdog Ofcom has another set of conclusions. Its report on media literacy claims television viewing has reduced in recent years. It said, the number of people watching the TV for at least 15 minutes a day had declined by 2.5 per cent among the 25-34 group. The shift is even higher among younger groups.
Industry watchers say the figures cannot be conclusive proof. For instance, they point out, many internet users may be using their computer systems to watch TV programmes and may be to watch a video or listen to radio even as they surf web pages.
In fact, there is convergence happening in this segment as demonstrated by the efforts of BSkyB and BT to bring in TV programmes over the internet using the internet protocol television – IPTV.