Time Spent With Online Content Reaches Record High

    December 3, 2008

The Online Publishers Association (OPA) announced toady that time spent with online content reached a 2008 high in October, according to its Internet Activity Index (IAI).

While time spent with content jumped in October, share of time spent with ecommerce hit an all time low. The OPA launched the index over four years ago, it measures the amount of time consumers spend online each month with ecommerce, communication, community, content, and search.

Content has consistently led all categories since early 2006, and October’s data represents a new high for 2008. Close to half (45%) of consumers’ online time in October was spent with content, an increase of 6.1 percent since the beginning of the year.

The increase was driven by consumers increasing reliance on trusted online media outlets along with the news related to the nation’s financial crisis and politics.

Consumers spent more time with online trading sites in October, but it did not offset a large drop in time spent with other online commerce activities. Since the start of 2008, time spent with commerce has dipped 20.4 percent.

Time Spent With Online Content Reaches Record High

"The October Internet Activity Index demonstrates that consuming content is the dominant way people spend time online," said OPA President Pam Horan.  "The economy, the election and other current events have driven even greater interest than usual, as consumers turn to the Internet for vital news and financial information."

The search category saw a four percent increase between January and October while the community category had the biggest jump with 16 percent. The community increase was largely due to more people using Facebook, however it continues to account for a relatively small share of consumers’ time spent online.

"Our goal with the IAI is to provide a reliable, ongoing measure of the time being spent with key online activities," Horan said.  "Through this data, the IAI offers a unique gauge that helps define engagement and serves as a valuable supplement to other key measures."