Study: Americans Now Use Internet As Much As They Watch TV

And there it is: Americans now spend as much time on the Internet as they do watching TV. So says a new study released by Forrester Research, which says that people now spend 121 percent more time online than they did only five years ago. What’s probably most significant is that these stats now include people in the 30+ age group; it’s not just college student insomniacs who spend their time online these days.

As you might guess, some of this increase can be attributed to the rise of streaming video services like Hulu. (Let’s not forget that, in 2006, YouTube was hardly the force that it’s become.) Thirty-three percent of adults now admit to watching streaming video online, which is up from 18 percent only three years ago.

While that might suggest “cord cutting,” keep in mind that ESPN study from a few days ago that said, by and large, nobody is cord cutting as a result of moving onto Internet-delivered video. (Cord cutting, if it’s happening at all, is a result of people cutting costs in these depressed economic times.)

The hours spent online are truly something else. Adults under the age of 30 (/me waves) spend an average of 12 hours online, while adults over the age of 60 spend an average of eight hours online.

The main takeaway from the study is this: the “rise” of the Internet shouldn’t be viewed with suspicion by TV executives and the like, but should be used as an opportunity to put your product in front of more eyes than you normally would.

Which explains why so many networks have treated Google TV (and the like) as if it’s some deadly plague, right?