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Tuesday 3 August 2010

Social Networks, Blogs and Games Dominate US as Email Declines.

August 2, 2010 Dean Takahashi, SocialBeat

CommentIn a big shift from just a few years ago, Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time on social networking sites and blogs, according to released today by The Nielsen Company.

A year ago, only 15.8 percent of time spent online was devoted to social networks. Online games came in second in terms of time spent online, accounting for 10.2 percent of time spent on the internet, compared to 9.3 percent a year ago.

One of the big losers in the survey was email, which now accounts for only 8.3 percent of time spent online, compared to 11.5 percent a year ago. Another loser was portals, 4.4 percent now compared to 5.5 percent a year ago. Instant messaging was also down at 4.0 percent, compared to 4.7 percent a year ago.

Americans spend about a third of their online time communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging.

“Despite the almost unlimited nature of what you can do on the web, 40 percent of U.S. online time is spent on just three activities – social networking, playing games and emailing, leaving a whole lot of other sectors fighting for a declining share of the online pie,” said Nielsen analyst Dave Martin.

It’s worth nothing that online games overtook personal email in the past year, moving into second place behind social networks. Online video and movies also saw significant growth, now at 3.9 percent compared to 3.5 percent a year ago. During June, more than 10 billion videos were streamed to web users in the U.S. On average, Americans spend 3 hours and 15 minutes per month watching online video.

All of this news is great for social network companies such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s also good for social gaming firms such as Zynga and online game companies such as Activision Blizzard, maker of World of Warcraft. But it explains why email and portal companies such as MSN and Yahoo are having a tough time.

On mobile phones, email is still king, accounting for 41.6 percent of mobile internet time, up from 37.4 percent a year ago. Social networking time on mobile phones was up this year. But portals are the second-heaviest activity on the mobile internet, accounting for 11.6 percent of time, down from 14.3 percent a year ago. Social networking is at 10.5 percent, up from 8.3 percent a year ago.

Music and video/movies saw 20 percent increases on mobile during the year. But news/current events and sports sites saw more than 20 percent drops. Oddly enough, there was no separate section for games, and entertainment was a fairly small part of the overall pie.