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75% Of U.S. Households Use Social Networking

A Nielsen study shows Internet users spent an average of more than 6 hours a month on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter during May.

U.S. consumers are spending more time online -- and devoting a growing percentage of those hours to social networking sites -- a trend expected to create a surge in spending on advertising to this audience.

In May 2010, U.S. consumers spent an average of 6 hours, 13 minutes a month using social networking websites, according to a study by the Nielsen Company. And users did not restrict themselves to checking their status while at home: the average U.S. worker spent almost 5.5 hours each month visiting social network sites from the office, the research firm found.

Of all active U.S. Internet households, 75% visited a social networking site in May 2010, according to Nielsen. About one-fifth of U.S. adults online publish or own a blog, and 55% have at least one or more social networking profiles, the report said.

Twenty percent of those surveyed frequently provide advice about movies; 18% share their opinions about TV shows and 16% often advise others about music, Nielsen said.

In fact, consumers often turn to social networking sites to share and find opinions on products, providers and services, according to a recently released study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). In turn, this is creating an up-tick in spending on the entertainment and media market -- items like Internet advertising, music and game downloads and satellite radio subscriptions.

"The use of the Internet has become one of the great unifying experiences shared by billions of people across the world and this is now causing a parallel trend with the "re-socialization" of the media consumption experience. Historically reading books or newspapers has been a solitary activity," said Marcel Fenez, global leader, Entertainment & Media practice at PwC, in a statement.

"However, the combination of digital access, mobility and social networking is seeing consumption of all forms of media migrate from a solo activity towards being a social experience with viewers use social networking forums to discuss and share their views and content," said Fenez.

In fact, the digital transformation will drive the entertainment and media market toward revenue of $1.7 trillion in 2014, compared with $1.3 trillion in 2009, PwC estimated. The United States is expected to spend$558 billion in 2014 vs. $460 billion last year, the report said.

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