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Pew Study: Broadband Users Are More Interactive

Marketers who treat online campaigning as a one-way street may be left out in the cold in a broadband world if a study released yesterday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project is an indication of things to come.

Forty percent of the 24 million high-speed Internet users in the United States have at one time or another created Internet content, either by creating their own Web sites, posting information on existing Web sites or publishing online diaries, according to the study. About 16 percent of them create content on a typical day.

Moreover, 43 percent have shared files with others and displayed or developed photos online, the study said. Seventeen percent share files on a typical day, and 14 percent display or develop photos on a typical day.

“For many broadband users, images and data on the Internet are not just things to be viewed passively, but things that these users download, recombine, manipulate and share with others,” a summary of the report by the Washington-based nonprofit said.

Taken together, 59 percent of those with high-speed Internet access have created content or shared files with others, and 26 percent do so on a typical day.

There are broadband frustrations, however. Two-thirds of the 507 Internet users interviewed for the study in February said they are bothered by pop-up advertising, and 23 percent reported they are “frequently” or “sometimes” disappointed with the speed of their cable modem or DSL line.

The study also supports those who contend that the Internet is eating into consumer consumption of other media:

· 37 percent said Internet use has decreased time spent watching television.

· 31 percent said it has decreased time shopping in stores.

· 18 percent said it has decreased their time reading newspapers.

· 13 percent said it has decreased their time spent in traffic, and one-third of home broadband users telecommute.

· 68 percent of home broadband users said that since they got their high-speed connection, they have looked more frequently online for addresses, recipes, local event information and other facts.

Meanwhile, home broadband users do not report that their Internet use has affected the time they spend with family, friends or attending social events, the report said.

Not surprisingly, broadband users also are more active downloaders than their dial-up counterparts. Sixty-three percent of broadband users have downloaded games, videos or pictures, and 50 percent have downloaded music files, the study found. Twenty-two percent download games, videos or pictures on a typical day, and 17 percent download music on a typical day.

The number of broadband users has quadrupled from 6 million to 24 million since June 2000, putting its rate of adoption on par with the personal computer and the compact disc player and ahead of color television and the VCR, according to the Pew Internet and American Life project.

When asked what they do most online, 32 percent of the home broadband users interviewed said they look for information, and 28 percent said they use e-mail.

Also, name the online activity, and home broadband users are likely to do it more often than their dial-up counterparts:

· 21 percent of home broadband users engage in instant messaging on a typical day, compared with 14 percent of dial-up users.

· 46 percent report getting news online daily, versus 24 percent of dial-up users.

· 67 percent check e-mail every day, versus 52 percent of dial-up users.

· 82 percent are online on any given day, versus 58 percent of dial-up users. Forty-three percent have multiple online sessions per day, compared with 19 percent of dial-up users.

Also not surprisingly, broadband households have a lot of technology. Sixty-nine percent have more than one computer, and 40 percent have three or more. Fifty-five percent of those with multiple home computers have networked them.

The average broadband user pays $46 per month for the service. Eighty-five percent reported that the price is worth it.

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