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Studies Find More TV Viewership Is Online

Oct 21, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Forget trying to figure out what everyone’s watching. Today, the more important question is: Where are they watching? A pair of studies released last week agreed that “where” is increasingly online.
In fact, almost 16 percent of Internet households watch TV online, nearly double the number from a year ago, according to the Conference Board and TNS’ TV online study.
In-Stat’s broader study noted all online video viewing is growing, with the majority of respondents believing it will become “mainstream.”
“This is sort of the tip of the iceberg in the growing trend,” said Lynne Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “And it’s free content that’s leading the way. We found that few people are willing to pay.”
Entire episodes of TV shows were the most-watched free content, with almost half of Internet households viewing, up from 25 percent last year. Last year, news was the most-watched TV programming online, at more than 62 percent of households; this year that figure was 44 percent.
While free content could be bad news for TV programmers and networks, one possibility is consumer acceptance of ad-supported content. Although one-third of viewers said they watch online to avoid commercials (the No. 2 reason after convenience, the No. 1 reason to watch online for 60 percent of respondents), they’re not entirely averse to video ads.
Recent research from Frank N. Magid Associates found consumers would be most likely to sit through an ad at the beginning of a video they wanted to watch, vs. in the middle, at the end or in between two separate videos. And they like them short: 46 percent prefer ads to be 10 seconds or shorter, with another 26 percent preferring ads that are 11 to 15 seconds.
In-Stat’s survey found online video growing in popularity and, for the under-25 set, becoming a way of life.
Shari Morwood, TNS’ exec VP of technology, telecommunications and media, said, “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.”

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