Canadians tops on-line

Canada is number one in time spent on-line – or at least that’s what the numbers say for the month of April, according to Media Metrix Canada’s report on Internet use.

In total, 14 countries from around the globe are involved in the monitoring of their respective country Internet use. Lisa Eaton, vice-president of Media Metrix said that the individuals who participate in the on-going studies have a software metre installed on their PCs at home, and are then required to go to a Web site where they log-on and log-off to measure their time spent on-line. When their computers are turned on, a screen prompt appears asking the users who they are, their gender and who is with them, allowing the tracking of more than one person. The Toronto-based company said all the countries that are involved follow the same guidelines.

In Canada, 6,000 people are being monitored. “Once you’re requested for the panel, we’d like to keep you for as long as possible (because) it’s ongoing all year round,” Eaton said. She added that Canadians spent an average of 932 minutes on-line, and that Canada has more than 13 million connected users to the Internet. It is a growth that is being felt by companies that are on the Internet, she said.

“Our page views for last year ending in December, were up 54 per cent from the previous year,” said Patrick Sullivan, president of He said that while the overall numbers are slowing because of number of Canadians who are already connected, PC sales are rising, as households now have more than one PC per household. And the numbers also suggest the same trend, as the growth rate from May of 2000 to April of 2001 was 14 per cent for people on-line and average minutes spent has increased by 82 per cent.

With respect to overall numbers, the U.S. leads for Internet use, followed by Japan, UK and Canada, Eaton said. But given Canada’s population, Eaton suggested that makes Canada’s on-line use even more impressive. In the U.S., 55,000 people are involved in the study. “The U.S. is a more mature market because people have been on-line longer,” she added.

However, one of the factors of total Internet use remains who is using broadband – countries are continuing to use dial-up networks most often, making both speed and cost a factor.

“If you look at hard cost of retail DSL or cable access in Canada, the U.S. and Germany, using a standard currency instead of cost in U.S. dollars, Canada provides cheaper high speed access,” said Larry Karnis, the senior consultant for Application Enhancements in Brampton, Ont. He added that those who have slower Internet access lose interest because of the time it takes to connect to the Internet.