Are you a Net vet or a couch potato?

The question is worth your answer (in comments, please), following data released by Nielsen and NPD over the last 40 hours. According to Nielsen, U.S. Internet users spent an average 66 hours 24 minutes and 44 seconds on a PC in November. An average 6 hours 10 minutes and 6 seconds spent on the Internet went to Facebook.

But for all the talk about newer technologies -- whether Hulu and YouTube streaming or iTunes and iPods -- NPD claims that more Americans still consume traditional media. The data strangely juxtapositions with advertising spending trends.

"There's a perception that families spending time in front of a glowing TV hearth has been replaced by glowing laptop or iPod displays," Russ Crupnick, NPD entertainment industry analyst, said in a statement. "And while that's true for some families, TV remains the top entertainment choice by far in the United States."


NPD surveyed 10,281 U.S. consumers, who were asked about how they spent their leisure time in the previous week. Among the findings:

  • 81 percent watched TV (not including movies) for average 10 hours
  • 78 percent listened to terrestrial radio for average 5 hours
  • 70 percent used e-mail or instant messaging for average 4 hours
  • 60 percent listened to a music CD for average 4 hours
  • 58 percent watched a non pay-per-view or non-on-demand movie on TV
  • 47 percent visited social networking sites for average 5 hours
  • 11 percent used Twitter for average of 3 hours

If so many people are watching TV and listening to non-satellite radio, why are advertisers pulling advertising from traditional media? According to Barclays Capital, U.S. advertisers will spend $23.976 billion on Internet ads this year. While spending on radio and TV (broadcast and cable) will be greater -- $16.6 billion and $61 billion, respectively, down from $21.5 billion and $67.9 billion in 2005 -- they will steeply decline from 2008. Network TV: -19 percent. Cable TV: -5 percent. Radio: -15.1 percent.

Last week, eMarketer revised U.S. online advertising downward. The firm now expects a 4.6 percent year-over-year decrease after previously forecasting a 4.5 percent increase. While search and banner advertising are holding steady, classifieds are down.

The Nielsen and NPD data together offer some answer to the question from two paragraphs back. While more U.S. consumers do watch TV or listen to the radio more often and for longer than communicating online, many spend more time on the PC -- presumably connected to the Internet. Assuming four weeks in a month, U.S. consumers spend 40 hours watching TV compared to more than 66 hours on the PC.

So let's do an informal poll. Are you a Net vet or couch potato -- or perhaps both? Neither study reveals how many people watch TV and use a PC at the same time. If you do both, please, fess up.

My confession: I spend much more time using a PC and the Internet than watching TV. I spend at least 8 hours a day on a computer during weekdays and four or more hours each day on weekends. So, I spend 192 hours or more on the laptop a month. Using the DVR to record shows, I watch maybe 8 hours of TV a week. Perhaps that makes me a PC potato. Do I have a life? Well, I don't sleep much. How about you? How much time do spend on the TV or Internet during the month? Is advertising on one or the other medium -- the Internet or TV -- more likely to make a stronger impression? Comments are open for your responses.

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