New Global Research Demonstrates How Shifts in the Consumer Adoption of Social Media is Enabling Professional Media to Profit Online

By Globalwebindex, PRNE
Sunday, January 16, 2011

LONDON, January 17, 2011 - The first annual GlobalWebIndex report, "2011: Welcome to the Age of
Social Entertainment," publishes results from the first year of a long term
research project to track consumer adoption and attitudes towards all
Internet platforms.

The first report explores how shifts in consumer adoption in social media
to "real-time" technologies combined with the rise of packaged Internet
platforms, such as apps, mobile platforms, consoles, tablets and television
services are fuelling the consumption of traditional rich content and media

This massive shift is redefining the impact of social media from
publishing to sharing and driving new opportunities for professional media
and content producers to build sustainable business online.

The GlobalWebIndex has interviewed more than 51,000 internet users in 18
countries across 3 waves of data in its first year, and will move to 90,000
interviews in 26 countries in 2011.

"Real-time" social media exploding on a global basis

There are major shifts in the consumer involvement in social media, with
monthly usage of social networking growing by 20% between July 2009 and
September 2010, reaching 46% of global Internet users. Micro-blogging, as led
by Twitter, increased 21%, to 12% of global internet users. There is also a
significant increase in uploading video online, rising 16%, to 25% of web
users on a monthly basis.

This means that ongoing real-time contribution through status updates,
tweets or link sharing is increasingly defining most people's social
contribution. Already over 10% of global Internet users post a status update
on a social network more than once a day, while 5% contribute a micro-blog
update at least daily.

This is in stark contrast to the long form: text-based forms of social
contribution that defined early social media adoption. The percentage of
Internet users writing a blog on a monthly basis fell by 4%, to 25% of web
users, while contribution to forums or message boards fell by 11%, to 24% of
web users.

Tom Smith, the founder of the GlobalWebIndex, states: "Real-time is
re-orientating the Internet back to mass media and professional content
creators thanks to the changing impact of consumer involvement in social
media. Now users focus on sharing other people's content and commenting or
responding to live events instead of creating their own content. The consumer
is moving from being the creator to the distributor. Consequently 'Real-time'
is a massive opportunity for 'traditional' media and content producers, a
fact also clearly demonstrated by the individuals and organisations that
dominate Twitter."

Rise of "packaged Internet" eclipsing the browser

The open browser-based web is losing out to "packaged Internet"
platforms, such as TV, e-readers or applications. This is most clearly marked
in mobile Internet usage, which has increased in just one year from 25% of
Internet users to 33% using it in the last month. This is followed by mobile
apps, which, as of September 2010, are accessed by 25% of internet users,
internet via a games console at 10%, tablet/e-readers at 4%, and TV sets at
2% of global internet users. These trends undermine the concept of the
Internet as a singular entity or media and point to a future where many
people's primary internet experience will not be via a browser, but by an
Internet connected platform.

Smith continues, "Packaged platforms are re-engineering the Internet from
a browser based experience. Crucially, it provides professional media and
content producers with the means to build sustainable businesses online,
something the open web has failed to enable. This is as important, if not
more important, for a functioning society, as enabling consumers to publish
and share their opinions. This commercial push will advance the delivery of
the social entertainment experience."

The explosion of traditional content through Internet platforms

The fastest growing motivation to use the Internet in 2010 was to "To
find TV and films", which grew by 29% between July 2009 and September 2010;
this was followed by "To find music" (22% growth) and "Entertainment", which
grew by 13.4%. These three motivations outstripped all social media focused
motivations and will continue to explode in 2011.

The result is that rich professional content is now a core part of a
consumer's web experience. By September 2010, 66% of global Internet users
had watched a video clip in the last month, 29% had streamed live TV, 27% had
watched full length TV on demand, 25% had downloaded free TV programming, 13%
had illegally downloaded TV via P2P, and 9% had paid for content. This is a
concrete demonstration of how streaming, packaged platforms and the
integration of social distribution have driven mass consumer consumption.

Smith concludes, "The Internet through its various forms is for many the
lead entertainment platform of choice. The integration of social technologies
and professional content will be the most exciting dynamic of the internet
over the next five years. Your social network or the wider consumer network
will be increasingly important in defining all content and media that you
consume. While consumers may not define the agenda with their content, they
will increasingly dictate the patterns of consumption."

About the GlobalWebIndex

The GlobalWebIndex is a tool that enables users to understand their
target audience, business category, and market impact of Internet enabled
platforms. The tool is populated with the most detailed set of research data
on social media, Internet behaviour and attitudes ever compiled. The data is
collected by Lightspeed Research, a leading provider of global online
research panels and online surveys. The first year was taken from 3 waves of
data from July 2009, January 2010, and September 2010, covering 51,000 web
users in 18 countries. In 2011 this will expand to 3 sets, delivered in
February 2011, June 2011, and October 2011, covering 26 key online markets
and 90,000 consumers.

- Media enquiries:

- For more information and a copy of the report, visit

or stay updated on Twitter at

- To organise a trial of the tool:

Neil Dillingham; +44(0)208 549 3955, globalwebindex at

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