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BizReport : Internet : October 14, 2010

Pew: Americans exploring video chat on Internet, mobile

Americans are starting to explore face to face communication online or on their mobiles, instead of hiding behind a screen, according to new research released this week by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

by Helen Leggatt

For the first time, Pew surveyed use of video calling online and via mobile as part of their research. They found that, of the 3,001 respondents, almost three-quarters use the Internet and, of those, almost a quarter (23%) had tried video chats, calls or teleconferences.

Age and income play a part in a person's propensity to engage in video chat, found the survey. The activity is more prevalent among younger Internet users (29% of 18-29 year olds) than older users (15% of user aged 65+).

Internet users with higher incomes are also more likely to chat via video online - 34% of those with annual household incomes exceeding $75,000 per annum compared with 15% of those with household incomes below $30,000. This may be due, in part, to the affordability and availability of good Internet access and equipment.

Likewise, of the 85% of respondents who use a mobile phone, 7% had tried video chat on their handsets. Again, it was the younger users who were more likely to do so.

"Video calling has become increasingly available as camcorders have spread through the online environment, cameras have been built into smart phones, and as video-chat services like Skype, Google Talk, and Apple iChat have become a feature of the online and smart phone environment," says Pew. "Teleconferencing is also becoming more embedded in the business environment."

Tags: Internet, mobile, video chat

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