LONDON: Western Europeans now spend more time online than they do looking at print media, according to a new report by Jupiter Research.

A study of 5,000 people reveals that internet users spend an average of four hours a week online, compared with three hours reading magazines and newspapers.

Overall media consumption has risen to 19 hours per week, up from 15 hours in 2003.

Comments Jupiter research director Mark Mulligan: "The fact that internet consumption has passed print consumption is an important landmark for the establishment of the internet in the European media mix."

He adds: "The shift in the balance of power will increasingly shape content distribution strategies, advertising spend allocation and communication strategies in the European media."

The research also confirms some well-established trends, for example that the 15-24 year age group spends most time online, while reading of print media peaks with those aged 65-plus.

The report also reveals that high-speed internet access increases the amount of time users spend online.

In France, where 79% of online households have broadband connections, the typical user is online for five hours a week, compared with only three hours a week in Germany, which has a broadband penetration rate of 42%.

Germans, however, spend an average of 14 hours a week watching free-to-air multichannel television - the highest of any European nation in the survey.

A majority of the of the time Europeans spend online is devoted to email and search activities. And despite the current torrent of hype, entertainment content such as music and video still accounts for only 22% of online activity.

Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK); additional content by WARC staff