Online Usage: "More Than a Fad." (Survey by FIND/SVP Inc.)

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Survey Finds 50% of Users Log On Daily; Most Seek News

The latest results of a survey by FIND/SVP indicate that online usage in the United States is "more than a fad," with tens of millions of people routinely logging onto the World Wide Web and checking their e-mail every day.

There are currently 31.3 million adult Americans accessing online services -- a number that will increase to as many as 45 million by the end of 1998, according to the findings of the research organization.

More than 27 million of the 31.3 million are accessing the Internet. Beyond those online adults, an additional 9.8 million persons under 18 are also linking their computers to telephone lines to access digital news, information, entertainment and personal communications systems. Some 5.7 million of these young people go online at home; the other 4.1 million do so in their schools.

60% Seek News

According to the survey, most people go online for news (66%), followed by hobby information (62%), travel information (56%), entertainment (50%), government and community information (46%), health and medical information (45%), sports news (41%) and music (41%).

These results and a myriad of others were revealed Aug. 1 at the "Editorial Issues on the Web" conference in New York City, sponsored by Editor & Publisher Co. The conference was co-sponsored by the American Press Institute, Associated Press Managing Editors and FACS.

Addressing editors at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Stuart Gibbel, head of the Emerging Technologies Research Group at FIND/SVE, said that of those surveyed, 28% described online use as "very indispensable" Another 45% described it as "somewhat indispensable."

Almost 60% of Internet users check e-mail every day, and 50% go onto the Web daily, the survey showed.

Each of the top 46 U.S. markets have more than 100,000 Internet users, according to the survey, and the seven top metro markets each have over 1 million users. …