RealTime IT News

Independent Survey Reveals Japanese Net Usage Patterns

The typical Japanese user accesses the Internet about 11 times per week, visits six Web sites per online session, and spends an average of 1 minute 48 seconds per site, according to a survey by Japan's first independent Internet usage rating service.

Integrated Systems Technologies Inc. (IST), a Tokyo-based Internet software developer, on Monday released a public summary of the second Japan Access Rating (JAR) Internet usage survey.

This survey, part of an ongoing effort by IST and its partner, market research firm Nippon Research Center (NRC), was conducted March 1 through 28. It follows the same format as the first JAR survey in February.

Similar to television audience ratings, these surveys track the online usage patterns of some 2,000 volunteer monitors, selected from among 17,000 NCR CyberPanel members to closely match the demographics (age, sex, occupational, and regional distribution) of Japan's overall Internet population.

The participants' Internet usage is tracked via special NetRover software installed in their computers.

On average, the monitors accessed the Internet 1.61 times per day, for 10.8 minutes per session. They visited 17.9 individual pages on 6.0 Web sites per session, spending about 36 seconds viewing each page.

The JAR surveys use four site access indices -- Frequency of Access, Frequency per Session, Time Staying on Site (TSS), and Pages per Access -- and three audience indices -- Net Access Rating (percentage of audience accessing the site), Gross Access Rating (net access x frequency), and Japan Access Rating (gross access x TSS) to create a complete picture of Internet usage patterns.

NIFTY-Serve and Biglobe had the highest JAR ratings of Internet access providers and, along with the Yahoo! Japan search engine, were the only sites visited by more than 50 percent of the survey participants in March.

Yahoo was by far the most heavily used search engine (at least once by 69 percent of the monitors), followed in distant second and third positions by Goo (35 percent) and Infoseek (30 percent).

IST is selling the collected Web site viewer ratings and other market data for a subscription fee of 35,000 yen (US$295) per "standard report," or 100,000 yen (US$840) per more detailed "professional report." A single copy of the standard and professional reports can be purchased for 50,000 yen (US$420) and 150,000 yen (US$1,260), respectively.

IST reportedly hopes to sign 1,000 corporate subscribers and reach revenues of 300 million yen ($2.5 million) during the first year.

In spite of the rapidly growing size and importance of the Japanese Internet, this effort by IST and NRC is the nations first long-term, independent Internet usage audience rating service.

"This type of reliable, objective Internet audience rating data from a neutral third party could have a profound effect on future advertising prices," predicted a Japanese ad agency executive.

The next JAR survey report, covering the period March 29 through April 25, will be released on May 10.