Online TV Still Few People’s First Choice

Individuals use Internet mostly due to forgetfulness

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This week’s big TV event was unquestionably the season premiere of "Lost"; lots of people have, over the course of the previous five or so years, become huge fans of the show.  But new stats imply that very few of them sat in front of computer monitors on Wednesday, rather than televisions on Tuesday, in order to watch the two-hour episode.

Nielsen took a look at why people watch online TV, and the leading reason doesn’t have much to do with convenience or fewer commercials.  Instead, 54 percent of people simply watch TV online because they forgot to catch an episode as it aired.  And the next-most common reason, with 47 percent of people citing it, is similar: because they missed a large number of episodes.

It’s not until you get down to the least popular reasons ("Another member of my household watches another program at the same time," "I watch TV programming online when I am at work," and "I watch TV programming online when I travel") that online TV sort of distinguishes itself.  Otherwise, it appears to act as more of a memory aid (or way to avoid buying DVDs) than anything. 

The details relating to how people watch TV online also make the activity look like less than an integral part of everyday life.  Jon Gibs, Nielsen’s Vice President for Insights, Online and Cross Media, noted, "When we go online to watch TV shows, that activity dominates that particular online session," and "the viewing of TV shows online proves to be a rather solitary activity."

This all makes for less than fantastic news for Hulu and YouTube.  Of course, we have to note that neither site is exactly starving for page views, regardless of people’s reasons for visiting them.

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Online TV Still Few People’s First Choice
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  • http://freetubetv.net Online TV

    I think time shifting is the most obvious reason, people don’t want to be bound by schedules any more.

  • http://www.ptcsites4sale.info PTC Sites For Sale

    I do occasionally watch movies on my compter but I think it will be a generation from now before TV catches on online.The TV set and traditinal programming is to embeded in our culture to be easily dismissed

  • GuestRoe

    How about, “I don’t want to pay $60 a month for a stupid cable TV subscription when there’s only one or two shows I care about watching?”

    That’s got to be more common than they’re giving it credit for. Cable is a mind-rotting piece of crap, aside from a few gems that inspire critical thinking and satirical socio-political analysis.

    Like South Park.

  • Guest

    Why watch season 1 of something that has reached season 5 in another country. Why wait 5 years? Also why should I have to watch it late at night or during lunch. I only watch tv for 1 show now ( a Greek one) and for CSI ( they are all so generic I don’t really care if I miss one…. WAtching tv on the net allows more freedom, if there is a season premiere ofcourse why would you watch it on your 24″ monitor instead of your 50″ tv? If it is on at a time I can watch it tv is perfect for what it was created to do and there is no reason to lose that, it can just be enhanced as it has already been enhanced over the years. I think it is obvious that tv will still remain dominant until things are merged to such an extent that calling it tv will only mean it’s in the living room

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