Web surfers are spending more time on social-networking sites these days than they do on email. And if they manage to pull themselves away from Twitter or a buddy’s Facebook profile, chances are they’re on Hulu or another Web video site, Nielsen says in a report released today.
Social-networking sites eclipsed email in global reach in February, with social networks, which Nielsen calls “member community” sites, reaching 68.4 percent of Internet users globally, compared to 64.8 percent reach for email sites, Nielsen says in its “Global Online Media Landscape” report.
Three-year-old social-networking site Twitter has eclipsed MySpace and Facebook in the amount of buzz generated by Internet users, with conversations around Twitter surpassing conversations involving Facebook during March. “The steady upward march of micro-blogging site Twitter will likely be the biggest online media story this year,” Nielsen says in the report.
Internet video sites are also driving steady increases in traffic levels, with the amount of time Americans spend on video sites rocketing 339 percent since 2003. Unique viewers of online video grew 10 percent in the last year alone, with the number of streams delivered by YouTube, Hulu, MySpace, and sites owned by the major TV networks increasing 41 percent, Nielsen said.
The number of video streams delivered per user has grown 27 percent in the last year, while the total number of minutes users spent engaged with online video rose by 71 percent, the report added.
Nielsen, which tracks consumption of video both on TV and online, says the popularity of Web video sites isn’t eroding networks for prime-time TV shows. In fact, a TV producer stands to gain a wider audience by distributing a program online, with the Internet adding approximately 2 percent additional reach in a given month.
“There is no evidence that the Internet is cannibalizing TV use… High-intensity media consumers are high-intensity media consumers regardless of media type,” Nielsen said in the report.
Although about 50 million U.S. mobile phone subscribers can access the Web today, Nielsen says advertiser use of the platform “remains primarily experimental.”
But more consumers nonetheless are being exposed to mobile advertising, with about 30 percent of U.S. mobile phone subscribers saying that they recalled seeing some form of advertising while using their mobile phone during the second quarter of 2008, up from 18 percent during the same period last year, Nielsen said.