KETTERING, UK: The digital hype juggernaut continues to roll, as is evidenced by the latest report from the European Interactive Advertising Association which claims that the web has overtaken TV among those in the 16-24 age group.

Given its partisan membership - among which US giants AOL, DoubleClick, Microsoft and Yahoo figure prominently - the EIAA's excitement is understandable.

But what the body and its döppelgangers have yet to demonstrate is whether the web's undoubted charms will continue to seduce the European public for longer than, say, the hula-hoop or the Rubik cube.

According to the EIAA's latest Mediascope report …

  • 57% of Europeans now regularly access the internet each week. This equates to 169 million people frequently online across the ten European markets surveyed.

  • For the first time ever, 16-24 year olds are now accessing the internet more frequently than they are watching TV. Eighty-two per cent of this demographic use the internet between 5-7 days each week, while only 77% watch TV as regularly (a decrease of 5% since last year). Almost half (48%) claim their TV consumption has decreased as a direct result of the internet.

  • The continued popularity of the internet amongst silver surfers and women has also been a key factor in driving the growth of online. Since 2006, there has been a 12% rise in the number of those aged over 55 using the internet each week, and an 8% increase amongst women.

  • Time spent online is also on the increase. European internet users are averaging a lengthy 11.9 hours online each week and nearly a third (29%) are recognised as 'heavy' internet users as they spend an average of 16 hours or more online weekly - equating to over 48 million people.
And for students of the risible (or sad): 83% of respondents stated that they can't live without at least one online activity, highlighting just how integral the internet has become to their daily lives.

The study involved 7,008 random telephone interviews with over 1,000 respondents in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Nordic nations respectively; plus 500 respondents respectively in Belgium and the Netherlands. Interviews were conducted throughout September 2007.

Data sourced from European Interactive Advertising Association; additional content by WARC staff