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Study claims Internet delivers audience comparable to TV, magazines

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DoubleClick, which claims to be the leading provider of marketing tools for advertisers, direct marketers and web publishers, has released the results of its Cross Media Reach Study, which compares the relative audience reach of Internet sites, network TV programmes and consumer magazines. According to the study, the Internet's most popular sites consistently deliver larger audiences than the most watched television programmes and are comparable in size to popular consumer magazines.

The study also found that the Internet, in comparison to TV and consumer magazines, is highly effective in reaching two coveted demographics, teens and adult males. However, the study also shows that consumer magazines on average continue to deliver the highest ratings of the three marketing mediums, with its most popular titles delivering ratings that are 36 per cent higher than television and the Internet.

Rob Frydlewicz, a media research consultant and a former director of media research at Foote Cone and Belding conducted this survey on behalf of DoubleClick. The survey is an extension of Mr. Frydlewicz's original Cross Media Reach Study, which compared the audience sizes of popular consumer magazines and television episodes. In conducting this study, DoubleClick added the Internet to the mix and has established for the first time, that despite each medium's inherent differences, the most popular consumer magazines, television episodes and Internet sites each attract audience sizes in the millions.

According to the study, on average, the top 3 sites attracted audience sizes 43 percent larger than the top three prime time television programmes. In addition, these same Internet sites attracted audience sizes that were on average only five percent less than the top three consumer magazines. However, with 26.6 million readers, People Magazine is still the undisputed leader in attracting large audiences.

      Audience Sizes, Adults Age 18-49 (In millions)     

Websites           Primetime           Magazines     

Yahoo! Search     22.8     Friends     14.7     People     26.6

MSN Hotmail     22.7     ER     13.3     Reader's D     22.8

MSN Search     22.6     Will & Grace     10.9     BH&G     22.5

Aside from attracting large overall audiences, in comparison to network TV and consumer magazines, the Internet is a highly effective medium for reaching certain demographic groups, including all males 18-49, high income males and high income adults 25-54. In these specific groups, the 25 most popular Internet sites deliver higher Gross Rating Points (GRPs) than the top 25 TV programmes or magazines in these same demographic groups, (See chart below). However, magazines continue to far out-deliver both the Internet and television in reaching women 18-49 and blacks 18-49.

GRPs OF TOP-25 WEBSITES, TV SHOWS & MAGAZINES

      Websites     Prime TV     Magazines

Men 18-49     274     153     258

A18-49/HHI $75K+     268     187     282

M18-49/HHI $75K+     303     166     291

A25-54/HHI $75K+     284     211     287

The study compared the 25 most popular Internet sites, primetime TV programs and consumer magazines across 12 different demographic categories, including age, race and gender. It should be noted that the period of time measured to capture the average audience for the Internet, network TV and consumer magazines differs: (average minute for TV, average issue for magazines and specific month for Internet sites). Moving forward, this study will be conducted twice a year to track and analyze how consumer usage of each medium evolves.

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