An unheralded awareness and use of the Internet in New Zealand has been suggested by preliminary figures from AGB McNair's first serious foray into Internet research.
Around 190,000 New Zealanders have used the Internet, according to results from the first quarterly household readership survey for the year--the first in which the company has included an Internet section.
All eyes will now be on the second-quarter results, because AGB McNair does not normally release figures based on a single quarterly sample of 3000. But the numbers were striking enough for Brian Milnes, McNair's managing director of media research services, to highlight them in a recent presentation to publishers.
Milnes was out of the country last week, but the company's client services manager, Peter Grey, says the "number-crunching" of results from the the quarter to the end of June would take at least four weeks "and from that stage we will probably begin selling the information. What we can say based on the first quarter is relatively limited, but the doubling of the sample size will make it more conclusive."
In addition to the usual demographic information sought in its readership surveys, McNair asked participants if they were aware of the Internet; and if they had used it in the past year, month or week. They were also asked if they had used it to find information on a particular company or person, or for personal communication. The survey also covered ownership of PCs and modems.
"Internet usage is still relatively small compared to other media, but it's a new medium and we are a media research company," says Grey. "We need to be on top of what's happening and we will be most interested when the new data comes through."