September 19, 2002, 12:00 AM

The Internet and TV are converging and not just in shopping

comScore Media Metrix reports that nearly a fourth of consumers watch TV while they’re online. As a result, comScore says, marketers should coordinate their online advertising with their TV advertising.

 

Certain retailers have known for some time that the Internet and TV are converging--consumers who view promotion of retail goods on the TV shopping channels often buying them over the Internet. Now new research from comScore Networks Inc.’s Media Metrix division shows that the convergence is happening in more than just the direct buying of goods.

comScore Media Metrix reports that nearly a fourth of consumers watch TV while they’re online. As a result, comScore says, marketers should coordinate their online advertising with their TV advertising.

According to comScore Media Metrix, 48% of Internet users regularly watch television and have a television and PC in the same room. The research further showed that 47% of those consumers--23% of all online users--frequently use the Internet while watching television; 29% do so occasionally. Only 18% rarely do and 5% never.

"This study is a wake-up call for media companies, as it reveals a startling connection between television and the Internet," said Peter Daboll, division president of comScore Media Metrix. "The opportunity to deliver integrated programming and promotions is clearer than ever. These findings are a benchmark to help companies develop stronger relationships between visitors, viewers and customers."

ComScore says that while some Internet activity during television viewing is associated with television content, the majority is not. 15% of those with a television and PC in the same room report visiting a web site about the television show being watched; 11% report sending e-mail or chatting online about a show being watched; 11% search for listings or television reviews; and 10% research or browse products featured on a television show or in an advertisement. Conversely, 74% report conducting other online activities unrelated to the television show being watched.

"The prevailing understanding of how the Internet can interact with TV is misguided and needs to catch up to the reality revealed by the data," said Daboll. "While the early fears of the Internet were that it would steer people away from prime-time viewing, the real threat to TV is that the Internet is steering away viewers’ attention while they are watching TV and surfing the Internet simultaneously."

Daboll says the results carry wide-ranging implications for advertisers and broadcasters. "First, advertisers have to understand that viewers are often dividing their attention between two media, making the Internet a flexible and efficient advertising platform as users turn their attention to the web during TV commercial breaks or uninteresting programming,” he said. “Second, TV programmers need to understand they are competing against the Internet for viewers` attention, and that efforts to extend the TV experience online in some instances could run counter to the way people are using the two platforms in the first place."

 

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