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ARD/ZDF Online Study: The Internet has Reached Everyday Life

[Berlin, GERMANY] The passage of the Internet into everyday life is reflected in the accessed content and the times of use. For most users, the Internet is a medium which demonstrates a concrete intrinsic value pertaining to everyday life. At the forefront are, accordingly, sending and receiving e-mails, accessing the daily news as well as advice and service offers. This is among the results of the ARD/ZDF Online Study 2000 and the ARD/ZDF Offline Study 2000 commissioned by the ARD/ZDF media committee.

Users are dealing with what the Internet has to offer more and more matter-of-factly and routinely. They use the Internet more often and longer than in previous years. What's more, the enormous rate at which the number of private Internet connections is increasing indicates that the most traffic is shifting to the evening hours without negatively influencing classic media. The share of those online who believe that they watch less television because of their use of the Internet has been stable for years at about one-third. Television consumption in general, as supported by electronically measure data, has remained constant or, respectively, has even increased slightly.

The ARD/ZDF Online Study was conducted by the Wiesbaden Institute for Market and Social Research ENIGMA for the fourth time since 1997. Both representative samples are based on all online users and, respectively, non-users in Germany 14 years of age and older.

Television, as a sort of all-around medium, addresses information and entertainment needs equally "corresponding to the need for social orientation and integration" according to the writers of the study. In contrast, most Internet users, except for young users, use the Internet mostly functionally-pragmatically. Television, radio and the Internet, then, complement each other.

In past years, the Internet has evolved from an elite communication and information instrument to an everyday medium for a broader share of users. According to the study, 18.3 million adults in Germany use the Internet. That is 28.6 percent of the population over 14 years of age. Compared with the previous year, this is a 63 percent increase. The absolute highest increase is among the regular clientele of service providers, "very educated" people and younger people. The portion of Internet users among academics is 86 percent, among 14 to 39 year olds it is 47 percent. The highest relative rate of increase is among those who had no contact with the new medium a few years ago: older groups of the population and those with less formal education. The study also shows, however, that in the next years, it is not to be expected that the medium Internet will spread to all parts of the population.