Online TV Viewing Increasing

    October 16, 2007

About 16 percent of American households who use the Internet watch television broadcasts online according to The Conference Board and TNS. The number of people watching entire episodes has doubled from a year ago.

"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," says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

Almost 73 percent of online households use the Internet for entertainment on a daily basis and 15 percent search for entertainment several times a week.

Over three out of five online TV viewers say that personal convenience as the main reason for viewing TV broadcasts online. More than a third prefer online viewing so they can avoid watching television commercials. Other reasons for watching TV online include portability and a preference for computer viewing.

Internet users catching up on missed content have increased to 42 percent from 30 percent a year ago. People watch about half of their favorite shows online. Watching TV shows online has over taken news as the most widely viewed content online. Other online viewing preferences include sports, entertainment, and previews.

"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," says Shari Morwood, E.V.P 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."