NEW YORK ( Real Money) -- Are we doing anything in America? Are we doing anything except watching devices?
I keep thinking back to the engagement studies that Sheryl Sandberg talked about at the opening of her remarks on the Facebook (FB) call, when she said that in 2013, for the first time, people will spend more time with digital media than watch TV, specifically 5.25 hours a day on digital services vs. 4.5 hours on television. One in eight of those minutes on a desktop is on Facebook and one in five of those minutes is on mobile.
Now, wait a second. What else is there time for? The average person sleeps eight hours. That's a third of the day. Then there's another third that is supposed to be work and then another third that is meant to be play. Do you mean to tell me that we are on Facebook and the like for more than half of that leisure time and television for the rest?
I think what's happened, the secret of the success of Facebook as well as Twitter and even Yahoo! (YHOO) and AOL (AOL), as we heard from yesterday's successful conference call for that no-longer-a-relic company, is that people are doing far less work at work and fooling around with the Internet far more.The Internet turned out to be the ultimate in Trojan Horses. Unlike television -- other than the CEOs who are allowed to watch CNBC all day and seem to do so -- the Internet is something that people accept and even expect employees, associates, partners, whatever the bosses are calling labor these days, to be watching. The insidious nature of this is that probably a huge percentage of Internet watching is totally prurient and self-serving, or even more accurately, fun and definitely takes away from what you are supposed to be doing. That's the dirty little secret of this amazing medium. How did it happen so fast? And how do we know that it isn't all hype? Interestingly enough, you are gleaning a ton of information about how this happened on these conference calls. First, because people have so many devices there is a tremendous overlap of watching. The Facebook people may want to claim those 5.25 hours of watching for Internet, but I think given the plethora of screens out there it's become a two-screen watching era. That's how the networks and the cable companies can continue to show incredible growth. The ad rates we have seen for non-Internet media have been stellar this quarter and those companies are throwing off a huge amount of cash.