Online TV Gaining Market Share

It’s a TiVo world. Even online.

According to the latest report from the Consumer Internet Barometer, the small but growing number of consumers using the Internet to watch television broadcasts cite convenience and the ability to skip commercials as their primary motivators.

The report says more than two-thirds of online consumers log on daily for “entertainment” purposes with an additional 16 percent going online for entertainment several times a week.

Overall, one in 10 online consumers use the Internet to watch television broadcasts. The survey also shows three out of every four online television viewers have not changed their regular television viewing habits.

“Although online television viewing is not a widespread phenomenon, the proportion of users is likely to increase over time given consumers’ penchant for entertainment,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, which conducted the study along with custom research firm TNS, told

The numbers work out to about 7 million online television viewers a week.

Approximately 60 percent of those surveyed said convenience was the No. 1 reason for watching online television, followed by almost 36 percent who favored skipping commercials.

The most popular methods for viewing TV broadcasts online are streaming (53 percent) and free downloads (49 percent). Franco said “very few” of those surveyed are willing to pay per download or enroll in subscription services.

“What we found was that only a little over 6 percent said they paid for a download and only 4 percent use a subscription service,” Franco said.

At more than 60 percent, news is the overwhelming choice of online television viewers, according to the survey.

News was followed by entertainment (47.3 percent), missed episodes (30.2 percent), previews (28.4 percent), entire episodes of shows (25.8 percent) and sports (26.6 percent).

Trailing those categories was additional content from shows, a marketing effort currently being aggressively pursued by the networks.

Edye Twer, a TNS senior vice president, said in a statement accompanying the report is the move to online television viewing is part of larger “anytime, anywhere” trend that includes the use of digital recorders, video on demand and portable video players.

“As we have learned through our ongoing research, those content providers who communicate the value, context and capabilities of online programming will be positioned to grab the greatest share of the growing market for online entertainment,” Twer said.

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