Research shows broadband Internet access alters lifestyle

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April 21, 2005--Yahoo and Mediaedge:cia have revealed the findings of an in-depth broadband research study that examined the impact of high speed Internet access on people's daily lives. The Yahoo/Mediaedge:cia study found that consumers are increasingly growing closer to multiple media, and are turning to the Web for deeper content, entertainment and communication capabilities without forsaking other media. Broadband users view twice as many pages per month as their dial-up counterparts. The Internet is intersecting with all aspects of people's lives in dramatically new ways. The study showed that over half of broadband users say they are using online and offline media simultaneously, turning to the Internet to supplement other traditional media such as radio, newspapers and television. Broadband capabilities -- speed plus "always on" -- sparked this new "media meshing" trend, by allowing users to easily supplement one medium with another.

The study, commissioned by Yahoo! and Mediaedge:cia, includes both quantitative and qualitative research, and was conducted by Forrester Research and Headlight Vision. The results were released at Yahoo!'s "It's a Broadband Life" summit for marketers at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York on Tuesday, April 19, 2005.

"The 'always on' environment created by broadband access has transformed the way consumers are accessing information, communicating and living their lives," said Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer, Yahoo!. "This study makes even more clear the true shift in consumer behavior happening at such a rapid pace in today's society. This type of insight enables us to better understand how consumers are truly using media and help marketers reach their audience in compelling ways."

"Consumers crave rich experiences, regardless of the channel that delivers them," Meridith Jamin, director, consumer insights, Mediaedge:cia. "The next frontier of integration is to take a message through the different media channels while adapting it to take advantage of what consumers most love about that particular channel. This will make for a richer, more compelling brand experience."

"Meshing" Old and New Media

Media silos are dissolving -- for a richer experience with all media, consumers are now turning to the Internet to supplement other traditional media. Just as television didn't fully replace radio and radio didn't replace newspapers, the Internet has found a place in the lives of today's consumers that exists alongside earlier media.

Broadband allows consumers to get the full story from multiple media forms and sources; it plays a key role in integrating information and entertainment experiences in general. Broadband consumers are two to three times more likely to download video than dial-up consumers -- including movie clips, trailers, news video, short movies, sports events and cartoons.

The study showed that 64 percent of broadband users also engage with some form of traditional media (TV, magazine, newspaper, or radio) while actively online, compared to 57 percent of dial-up users. The number jumps to 71 percent for wireless broadband users.

"The Internet is able to bring everything together. It's able to bring out the good points of a lot of different types of media in one central place." Susanna, Young Professional, Nashville

"If I turn on (the news) and I see something, or something catches my eye, that's not my main source. I'll go to the Internet and pull up that story." Courtney, Young Professional, New York

Delivering Deeper Content

According to the study, these offline experiences are being supplemented by broadband-accessed Internet to provide deeper information or differing points of view on subjects first learned about in other media. The desire and ability to find richer and more in-depth content online has increased dramatically, as people turn online to find photos, videos, steaming music, games, and more. For example, broadband users are nearly four times more likely to download or stream video or audio and over twice as likely to use the Web to make their decision about what movie to go see this weekend.

"Anything you want to know about, anything that's piqued your interest, anything that you've heard a blurb about but don't understand -- you can go find it online." Kammie, Professional, Portland

"Now that I have access to (broadband) daily, it's a huge impact. Anything you want to know is at your fingertips." Scott, Young Professional, St. Louis

Changing Lives with Technology

In the second digital decade, one thing is clear: high-speed Internet access is having a profound effect on how consumers approach their daily lives. According to the study, over 50 percent of U.S. Internet users have broadband access. Because of the pervasiveness of broadband technology, consumers are now using the Internet to socialize, manage their lives, find the "full story" on any topic, and to entertain themselves. Daily tasks are being completed online now because of the ease of use and depth of content that is available to users at their fingertips.

"Broadband is faster and more efficient. It feels limitless now." John, Retired, New York

"I'd say that's probably my biggest motivator to get on the Internet -- information. It's really the easiest access I have." Kammie, Professional, Portland

Cutting the Cords

Broadband wireless has given "instant gratification" to consumers who want to use the Internet as a constant resource. Wireless capabilities delivered via users' home networks are altering consumption patterns in a new way: The Internet can now be accessed virtually anywhere, blurring the technological boundaries and making the Internet a natural aspect of daily life. Study participants reveal that wireless access provides them with a feeling of freedom, not only to find an endless amount of information, but also to do so from any location in the home.

"With wireless broadband, we use the Internet even more, in the kitchen, in front of the TV -- It really takes a television show to another level." Talisa, Young Professional, New York

Though wireless Internet access within the home is in its early stages, with eight percent of Internet households currently using wireless broadband, the new technology is allowing users to choose where and how they access the Web. Eighty percent of wireless broadband users sometimes or frequently access the Internet from their bedrooms, while a surprising 21 percent use their wireless access in the bathroom. No matter the location, study participants agree that this freedom of choice is resulting in even more integrated experiences.

By altering the routines of daily life, broadband is impacting marketing strategies. The survey findings provide additional insights to marketers that broadband's bandwidth capabilities encourage consumers to rely heavily on the Internet as a complementary resource to traditional media. To reach consumers effectively, marketers must develop integrated campaigns to communicate the right message through various channels, including online portals.

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