TV Websites Grow More Popular, but Viewers Still Prefer TV Sets

July 7, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Media & Entertainment | Television

Despite the growing popularity of viewing television content online, most adults (94%) who subscribe to cable or satellite television services prefer to watch television on traditional TV sets, according to new research by The Nielsen Company.

According to the study conducted for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM):

  • Some 35% of the adult broadband users surveyed said they had watched at least one television program (originally shown on TV) via the internet.
  • Of those who sought out video content online, 87% watched television programs directly from a TV network website.
  • 82% of those who watched video content online reported that they went online to find a specific television program that they had missed when it first aired on TV.

Online television viewers are not only catching up on their favorite shows; nearly 40% report using the internet to get the scoop on actors and upcoming episodes:


Asked to choose among 17 online content categories, online television viewers said they prefer to watch shorter video clips online: Movie trailers (53%), user generated videos (45%), music videos and general news segments (37%), comedy programs (31%), and sports clips (31%) were respondents’ top choices.

People are spending more time online each week than they were two years ago. More than half of the respondents (51%) reported being online for at least three hours a week in 2007. In 2005, just 41% of those surveyed said they spent three or more hours online per week.

Services associated with traditional television set viewing also recorded usage growth: For example, free on-demand programs and movies underwent a significant jump in usage, from 49% in 2005 to 71% in 2007; paid on-demand usage increased from 46% to 55%.

Other key findings from the report:

  • HDTV subscribers are exceptionally loyal: Of those respondents who own HDTV sets, two-fifths (41%) subscribe to a high-definition programming service. These subscribers report making it a point to watch high-definition programs “every time” (20%) or “most of the time” (45%) they watch television.
  • Digital cable and HDTV are poised for further growth: Interest in digital cable and HDTV sets is strong among respondents currently without these services or devices. Those interested in digital cable jumped from 9% to 20% from 2005 to 2007 – and from 18% to 28% for high-definition TV sets.
  • Viewers are accessing TV content via new media platforms: Small, but significant, percentages of respondents reported watching television via desktop computers (14%), laptops (9%), video-enabled mobile phones (6%), or other portable video players (5%).
  • Portable video platforms are slowly gaining popularity: While a large proportion (82%) of adults in this study own a mobile phone, only 7% subscribe to a video downloading service. Of those respondents who own a video iPod, 35% have never watched a video on it, 16% watch videos two or three times a month, 14% watch videos once a week, and 9% watch videos daily via iPod.

About the study: CTAM and Nielsen Entertainment Television partnered in conducting the “CTAM Tracking The Evolving Use of Television and its Content: Wave 4 Trend Results and Analysis” study, which looks at how emerging technologies are changing the way Americans access television content. This study was conducted as part of CTAM’s industry trends tracking market research program, in collaboration with Nielsen Entertainment Television. Data was collected via a nationwide telephone survey of 1,200 adults and 300 teens who subscribe to standard cable, digital cable or satellite television services; broadcast TV-only households were not included in the study.

45th Parallel Design Ad

Explore More Charts.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This