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Sigma One Group Inc., Neenah WI Wisconsin

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OPA Press Release



OPA Unveils Groundbreaking New Observational Research During "Eyes on the Internet Tour" through Eight Cities

NEW YORK, NY -- June 6, 2006 -- The Online Publishers Association (OPA) today announced the results of a new research project, "A Day in the Life: An Ethnographic Study of Media Consumption." The observational media usage study is being discussed throughout the OPA's 2006 Eyes on the Internet Tour, which will visit Atlanta, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Francisco.

The unprecedented observational research tracked the real-time media use of 350 people, recording their actual activities every 15 seconds. The results show that the Web is now clearly a mass media -- ranking right alongside other major media when it comes to reach and duration of use. And when it comes to at-work media use, the study found that the Web clearly dominates (with 54.6% reach, compared to television's 21.1%), and is the only medium that ranks among the top two at both work and home.

OPA commissioned Ball State University's Center for Media Design to conduct the study, which is most detailed and in-depth analysis to date of the Middletown Media Studies data.

The full report can be downloaded at

"By observing people in real-life situations, this study provides a level of accuracy and insight that simply cannot be found elsewhere," said Pam Horan, OPA president. "With that in mind, the evidence of the Web's rise to mass media status is now clear and incontrovertible."

Horan continued, "Industry data shows that the Web takes up between 20 and 25 percent of consumers' overall media time, but attracts about 8 percent of advertising dollars. While advertisers have been steadily moving to the Web in recent years, this research indicates the shift should be on a much faster pace. As a mass media with a powerful ability to extend the impact of all media, the Web clearly offers tremendous untapped advertising opportunities."

Web Extends Reach of All Media

Consumers often use the Web consecutively or simultaneously with television, radio and other media, allowing it to offer significant support. The research also revealed that the Web is a powerful tool for extending the reach of other media. More specifically, the research found that the Web increased the reach of television by a remarkable 51 percent in the morning, 39 percent in the middle of the day, and 42 percent in the afternoon. With magazine advertising, the impact is even greater -- the Web more than doubles the reach of magazines.

Horan commented, "Based on our real-world observations, it is clear that consumers are consistently online even while they're watching TV or listening to the radio. This unique attribute of Web usage means that advertising messages receive a dramatic boost when online is part of the buy."

Web Users Exhibit Consistently Strong Buying Power

A final key finding of the research is that Web users tend to have greater buying power than television users. In looking at the neighborhood Census data for study participants identified as heavy Web users and heavy TV users, the study found that the Web group demonstrated consistently higher buying power. The census data showed the TV dominant group had average annual retail spending of $21,401, while the Web dominant group spent $26,450 on average -- or nearly one-quarter more. In another example, the TV group spent $2,626 on entertainment and recreation, while the Web group spent an average of $3,281 -- or 25 percent more.

"Getting a real-world look at how much consumers rely on the Web and on television allowed us to make important conclusions about spending power," Horan said. "Whether they're headed to the store for new clothes or planning a vacation, heavy Web users simply spend more money. In a wide range of spending categories, heavy Web users are more affluent and spend more than their television-centric counterparts."

The OPA's annual Eyes on the Internet tour provides executives in the advertising, marketing and publishing communities with the latest online media research and trend information.

Eyes on the Internet 2006 is sponsored nationally by;; CBS Digital Media; CNET Networks; The New York Times Media Company; Real Cities Network;; and Tribune Interactive.

About the Study

Ball State University's Center for Media Design observed three hundred fifty consumers in Spring 2005. They were split about equally between men and women 18-24, 35-49 and 50+. On average participants were observed about 80% of their waking day. Locations include work, home, school, auto, etc. Simultaneous consumption of media was recorded (e.g., surfing the Internet while listening to the radio), as well as media consumption while engaged in an activity (e.g., watching TV while eating). Overall, 15 media were tracked, including 5 ad-supported media, during 17 life activities (e.g., child care, meal preparation, hobbies, homework, etc).

Observation is considered a superior method for this type of study, as previous research has shown survey research/recall tends to underestimate some media consumption while overestimating others.

About the Online Publishers Association

Founded in June 2001, the Online Publishers Association is an industry trade organization whose mission is to advance the interests of high-quality online publishers before the advertising community, the press, the government and the public. Members of OPA represent the standards in Internet publishing with respect to editorial quality and integrity, credibility and accountability. OPA member sites have a combined, unduplicated reach of 109.5 million visitors, or 65 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience (Source: comScore Media Metrix, July 2005 combined home/work/university data). For more information,

About Ball State University, Center for Media Design and Middletown Media Studies 2

Ball State University, located one hour northeast of Indianapolis in Muncie, Ind., is the third-largest public university in Indiana, with more than 17,700 students. As a part of the Digital Exchange initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment, the Center for Media Design (CMD) is a research and design facility focused on the creation, testing and practical application of digital technologies for business, classroom, home and community.

Middletown Media Studies 2 (MMS2) builds upon Muncie's reputation as "Middletown America," a typical community in the United States. Muncie earned this distinction as a result of the Middletown Studies of the 1920s and '30s by sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd. MMS2 is a follow-up to a 2004 study that found people consume much more media than they say they do.

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