In Depth

Consumers Prefer Online Viewing to VOD, Study Says

Internet video viewing is leaving video-on-demand in the dust.

That’s the conclusion of a new study from Solutions Research Group. The study found that, in November, about 20% of Internet users watched a TV show online each week, compared to 14% who watched a TV show on video-on-demand.

Broadband is in 60 million U.S. homes now, compared to about 37 million homes that have digital cable, said Kaan Yigit, analyst with Solutions Research Group.

“All triple-A network content is up on network Web sites for catch-up purposes now. Only a limited amount of triple-A drama is available on VOD,” Mr. Yigit said.

“VOD has movies, but either they are older than what the customer wants or more expensive than what they want to pay,” he continued. “Twenty-nine percent of those with VOD say the content costs too much. Even though most big cable companies offer lots of free content, there is still a perception that it costs extra money.”

Broadband also is pulling ahead because search is better online and consumers can find content more easily, he said.

The study found that nearly 80 million Americans, representing 43% of the U.S. online population, had streamed a TV show at some point as of November 2007. That’s up from 25% in October 2006. About 5% watched a TV show using an iPod or other portable device.

Many consumers are specifically visiting network Web sites to watch TV shows. About 21% of consumers said that was the main reason they visited a network site. ABC.com has the best user experience, according to 52% of consumers. Fox was next with 44%.