Canadians prefer Web over TV, says survey

Older Canadians switching to new media in droves

TORONTO -- Canadians surfing the digital wave for the first time are spending more time on the Internet than on the couch watching TV.

Pollster Ipsos Reid on Monday reported that Canadians with high-speed Internet access currently spend around 18 hours each week online, against 16.9 hours positioned in front of their TV sets.

That marks a sharp reversal from year-ago tracking research also conducted by Ipsos Reid that indicated Canadians on average surfed for 14.9 hours a week online, and watched TV for an average 15.8 hours a week.

Canadians doing more Internet surfing than TV viewing comes as consumption of other media nationwide, including newspapers, radio and magazines, remained relatively stable in the last year, Ipsos Reid reported.

Other poll findings indicate Canadian males spend an average 20 hours a week online, compared to 16 hours for females.

And while young Canadians have long been major consumers of digital media, older Canadians are switching from old to new media in droves.

Ipsos Reid said Canadians aged 18 to 34 spend around 20 hours a week online, while those over 35 surf for a comparable 18 hours on average.

"Our look at online television and media ... shows that Canadians are consuming more and more content online than they were previously watching on television or content that they simply did not have access to," Mark Laver, associate vp of Ipsos Reid and author of the latest Canadian Internet use survey, said.

"Not only has the recession likely acted as a disrupting factor, but the Internet is poised to take the next step in our lives as it delivers more and more entertainment content to Canadians in their homes and on the go," he added.

Ipsos Reid polled 839 Canadian adults for its online survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.38 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.