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Internet Users Focus on Content Over Communication

Posted on 8.13.2007

A new study, the Internet Activity Index (IAI), released by the Online Publishers Association and Nielsen/NetRatings and covering the past four years shows that Internet users are spending more time reviewing and reading content online and less time communicating. According to the study, in 2003, 34% of users' time was spent on content while 46% of their time was spent communicating. In 2007, the study finds the opposite - 47% of time is spent on content, while 33% is spent communicating.

"The IAI has identified a very significant and sustained trend in where consumers are spending their online time," OPA president Pam Horan said in a statement. "The index indicates that, over the last four years, the primary role of the Internet has shifted from communications to content."

It's no secret that online, content is king - now it seems to be taking on a more omnipotent status. Attribute much of the spike in activity to users reading more newspapers online and the fact that more households are online everyday than before. Faster connections, online video and the overall explosion of content available online surely helps. At any rate, this should be convincing evidence that every website needs valuable content. That goes for affiliates, resellers - everyone. Users expect more than a product listing. They want relative, useful content or they will go somewhere else to find it.

It's certainly a compelling study, but there is one glaring flaw: The Online Publishers Association defines communication purely as email. Instant messaging is considered content, and so is social networking. Social networking couldn't be more of a form of communication, so why that was left out is unclear. One has to imagine that with the advent of social networking and the millions upon millions of social networking users communicating with each other through their networks and profiles has something to do with the rise of content from 2003-2007.

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