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Most Popular Use of Internet for Senior Executives is Reading Business News

Wall Street Journal Online releases results of its "Boardroom Connections" survey

NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 24, 2004) -- Senior Executives From the Nation's Largest Companies Cite Reading Business News as the Top Reason They Use the Internet.

As part of its ongoing commitment to understanding how senior executives use the Internet, The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com, the largest paid subscription news site on the Web, today announced results of its "Boardroom Connections" survey. The survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc. on behalf of the Online Journal, identifies the computer and Internet habits of senior executives at large U.S. companies. It reveals, among other things, that nearly all senior executives use the Internet at work (99%) and at home (97%), and spend a significant amount of time online (13.4 hours per week, up 20% from 2000). The most popular use of the Internet for senior executives is reading business news (95%), with nearly all executives saying that the Web helps them stay better informed about issues related to their businesses.

The survey, which was first conducted in 2000 because the computer and Internet habits of this audience were largely undocumented, found that the Internet has now become an even more essential tool for senior executives, second only to national newspapers. In fact, the proportion of executives who cite the Internet as their most important news source has nearly doubled since 2000.


  • The percentage of senior executives who use the Internet often to read news or content for business increased 21% to 68% for this year's survey from 56% in 2000. For pleasure, the increase was even more impressive--a 53% rise to 46% from 30%.

  • Among the types of Web sites accessed most by senior executives are general-business news (92% compared to 81% in 2000, a 14% increase) and financial sites (81% compared to 58% in 2000, a 40% increase).

  • Senior executives spend 12% more time reading news on the Internet in the 2004 survey, and they spend less time with every other medium.

"The survey results are positive for marketers that have embraced the Internet as a key point of contact with this otherwise hard to reach audience," said Todd Larsen, president, Consumer Electronic Publishing, Dow Jones & Company. "Not only do they confirm the Internet's ability to reach nearly all senior executives, but they also reaffirm the importance of the Internet as a business tool--even at the highest levels of management."

Technology also has taken on a larger role in the personal and professional lives of these executives since the last time this survey was taken in 2000. Four years ago, senior executives demonstrated that they were tech-savvy, early adopters who quickly had made computers, personal digital assistants and the Internet essential components of their lives. Today, that trend continues.

For example:

  • 77% of senior executives have high-speed Internet connections at home.

  • 55% of all senior executives use PDAs often or sometimes. 34% use wireless e-mail devices often or sometimes, and 39% have a wireless Internet connection at home.

  • Senior executives devote about two-thirds (63%) of their total online time to non-e-mail related activities and more than one-third (37%) of their online time to sending and receiving e-mail.

  • Even at work, senior executives spend more of their online time on the Web (54%) than they do sending and receiving e-mail (46%).

  • Senior executives use the Web to:
    • Read news or content for pleasure (83%)
    • Research personal finance decisions (70%)
    • Conduct online banking (64%, a 68% increase)
    • Conduct online stock transactions (38%)

  • The top three items for personal use that senior executives purchase on the Internet are:
    • Airline tickets (83%)
    • Books (82%)
    • Hotel reservations (78%)

Boardroom Connections 2004 was conducted for The Wall Street Journal Online by Harris Interactive, Inc. The results are based on 276 telephone and 128 online interviews with 404 senior level executives. The sample source was Dun & Bradstreet's listing of Fortune 1000 companies, and the interviews were conducted between November 2003 and January 2004 and averaged 15 minutes in length. Executives included company chairmen, presidents, chief executive officers, chief operating officers, chief financial officers, chief information officers, chief technology officers, chief knowledge officers, executive vice presidents, senior vice presidents, executive directors and senior directors. Potential respondents were invited to participate in the research through an e-mail or letter detailing the research objectives and methods by which respondents could participate. As further incentive, respondents who completed the survey were entered into a drawing for one of three $500 prizes payable to themselves or to a charity of their choosing.

Source: Dow Jones & Company

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