So is the Internet a bust?

Fickle financial markets seem to have forgotten that the online boom is still under way. Several recent studies demonstrate that robust growth continues.

The Internet continues to expand across and through consumer consciousness, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project report released on Feb. 18 (see chart at right). "There has been so much attention focused on the woes of dotcom firms in recent months that many might have lost sight of the fact that the appeal of getting access to the Internet is still very strong," said Lee Rainie, director of the project. The study shows that 56% of American adults now have access, 45% for those under-18. At the end of last year, 58 million logged on in an average day, up 9 million from just six months before. Some of the greatest growth came from women and minorities, households earning between $30,000 and $50,000, and parents with children at home.

Within this expanding universe, the Arbitron/Edison Media Research Internet VI study shows that the popularity of streaming media is accelerating. Subtitled "Streaming at the Crossroads," it points out that, as of January 2001, 13% of Americans had used Internet audio or video in the previous month, up from 10% in January 2000. Such growth is in sharp contrast to a drop in the average weekly time spent online over the same period, down to seven hours and eight minutes from eight hours and one minute.

Ad agencies' acceptance of the power of streaming is growing, too. According to the Measurecast/Yankee Group "Ad Agency Streaming Media Awareness Study," 61% of ad agency respondents had recommended streaming- media advertising in the previous year. and 65% said they were likely to recommend making such buys in the year ahead.

The relationship between online and traditional media becomes clearer in Statistical Research Inc.'s study "The TV/PC Connection 2001." Says SRI Director of Client Services David Tice, "TV use hasn't gone down despite increase in Internet use."

Where the Internet population grew/The percent of each group online (±3%)