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Internet Users: VALS™ Interviews August 2006

About This Report

According to recent figures from TNS Media Intelligence in the 10 July 2005 Wall Street Journal, advertising spending on media in the United States continued to shift from medium to medium. Between 2004 and 2005, local newspaper-ad spending increased a mere 1.1%, whereas spending on Internet-display advertising saw a significant increase of 13.3%. Ad-dollar spending on local TV saw a glaring decrease of 9.5% between 2004 and 2005. Needless to say, this shift in dollars is especially troublesome to local television stations. Increased spending on online advertising has most television executives pointing a finger at the Internet as the source of their diminished revenue.

Although the shift in ad spending is real, many assumptions about what types of consumers are on the Internet and what those consumers are doing online may be invalid. The VALS™/MRI 2005 doublebase indicates that 65% of the U.S. adult population has Internet access. Nevertheless, the population's frequency of use and online activities vary widely. It's hardly logical to assume that all individuals within a given group—such as Baby Boomers or women ages 25 to 54—engage in the same activities or engage in any one activity for the same reason.

To bring some clarity to this issue and to understand better what types of consumers are using the Internet, how much time they spend online, and what types of activities they engage in on the Web, the VALS™ team put together this report. VALS imagined a hypothetical character that is prototypical of each VALS type to respond to the following questions in a "first-person interview":

  • How would you describe yourself as a consumer of news, information, and entertainment?
  • How much time do you spend gathering news and information?
  • Where do you go for most of your news and information?
  • How do you decide where to go for news, information, and entertainment?
  • How would you compare media?
  • What do you do on the Internet?
  • What about Internet advertising? Do you find it helpful?
  • How would an advertiser reach you to tell you about a product or service?

As always, our goal is to provide you with useful information.

Table of Contents

Innovators Interview 1
Thinkers Interview 5
Believers Interview 8
Achievers Interview 11
Strivers Interview 15
Experiencers Interview 18
Makers Interview 22
Survivors Interview 25