Online Television Goes Mainstream | 20% Of American Households Viewing On The Web

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Online Television Goes MainstreamOnline television is constantly evolving, and part of that evolution is persuading more people to utilise the Web as a method of watching TV and video. Luckily, that is happening quite quickly.

Writing for Web TV Wire over the past year has increased my knowledge of the business of Internet television and video considerably. And in that time I have seen the popularity of Web TV increase considerably.

Consumer Internet Barometer

Last year, TNS and the Conference Board revealed the results of their Consumer Internet Barometer survey which looked at the Internet usage habits of 10,000 US households.

That survey showed that 16% of US households regularly watched online television. But the results of this year’s survey, revealed this week in a press release, show that online TV is rapidly growing in popularity.

20% of US Households

Nearly one-fifth, or 20% of American households now regularly use the Internet to watch TV broadcasts, movies, and user-generated video. This is double the number of viewers that were using the Web in 2006.

Rather unsurprisingly is the news that the top destinations for viewers looking to the Web for television are the official website of the TV channel they are looking to watch, and YouTube.

Multiple Destinations

Also mentioned in the list of popular destinations are Apple iTunes, Hulu, social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Bebo, and file sharing sites such as The Pirate Bay and Limewire.

The main reason given for this recent increase in Internet viewers is the mindset if being able to watch programmes when they want to. Most consumers are now getting used to the idea of being able to set their own schedule.

Variety Of Content

News, drama, comedy, reality TV shows, and sports are the most watched genres of television online. But the Internet is also used for watching previews and trailers, additional content from shows, and even advertisements.

Streaming is by far the most common method of watching Web TV, with 68% of online video watched in that way. Free downloads account for 38% of Web viewers. The ‘free’ is important as few people are willing to pay for online TV services or subscribe to pay TV channels.

Still A Long Way To Go

Online television still has a long way to go – NBC’s Olympic coverage shows just how far – but viewer numbers are massively up and that trend is likely to continue upwards for years to come.

It’s really up to the television industry as a whole, and individual TV channels as well, to really decide whether they want in to the business of Internet TV or not. I’d suggest now is the time to decide whether to evolve or die.

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