Online TV Viewing Doubles, Replaces News as Top Web Content

October 16, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Television

The number of Americans viewing entire television episodes/shows on the internet has doubled from a year ago, and now close to 16% of American households who use the internet watch television broadcasts online, according to the “Consumer Internet Barometer” report by The Conference Board and TNS.

Nearly 73% of online households use the internet for entertainment purposes on a daily basis and an additional 15% search for entertainment several times a week, according to the data.

“Although online television viewing is still not a widespread phenomenon, the proportion of users has increased since 2006 and is likely to increase over time, given consumers’ love for entertainment,” said Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

According to TNS and the Conference Board:

  • Approximately half of online consumers sometimes watch their favorite shows online.
  • Watching TV online has now replaced news as the most widely viewed content online.
  • The top two reasons for watching TV on internet:
    • More than three out of five online TV viewers cite personal convenience as the major reason for watching TV broadcasts online.
    • More than one-third cite a wish to avoid watching television commercials (other reasons cited include portability and a preference for computer viewing).
  • The proportion of internet users who catch up online on missed TV content has increased to 42% from 30% a year ago.
  • Four out of every five online viewers say that watching TV programs online has not changed their television viewing habits, but a small percentage claim that their traditional television viewing has decreased.
  • The top methods for viewing broadcasts online are streaming and free downloading: About two-thirds of viewers stream online content, more than 40% download content for free.

“Over the next few years, the growing popularity of viewing TV episodes/shows online is going to have a huge impact on the way brands and advertisers communicate with viewers,” said Shari Morwood, EVP of technology, telecommunications and media at TNS. “If advertisers can effectively leverage the online video platform, we should see much more interactivity and emotional connection between brands and the online TV viewing audience.”

“On a broader scale, we will also see changes in viewing preferences, including TV on mobile devices, as media, telecom, and technology increasingly converge,” she added.

About the data: The Consumer Internet Barometer is based on a quarterly survey of 10,000 households. A unique sample is surveyed each quarter. Return rates average 70%, ensuring representative data. Data is also weighted to reflect the latest US household demographic information. The latest survey was conducted during the third quarter of 2007.

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