09.09.2009 02:00 PM
TV Viewing Migrates to the Web
NEW YORK: Nearly one out of four U.S. households watches TV online, up from 20 percent last year, according to the quarterly Consumer Internet Barometer report from the nonprofit Conference Board. Hulu

Nearly 80 percent of 7,000 consumers who responded to the survey logged on daily for entertainment. Entertainment as a category was cited as one of the most important Internet activities, behind only personal communication and work-related activities.  

Two-thirds of all online TV viewers accessed favorite programs through streaming video, while 41 percent used free downloads. Nine of 10 online viewers watched at home; one of 10 logged on at the office.

More than two-thirds of online TV viewers accessed television content through the network’s homepage. YouTube.com still retains second place, accessed by 42 percent of online TV viewers. The survey also indicated that Hulu.com gained ground for online TV viewing, ranking just behind YouTube.com. The number of households visiting Hulu.com increased almost fourfold in the last year. Usage grew from 8 percent of households in 2008 to 32 percent today. 

News shows are the most popular online programs--watched by about 43 percent of online TV viewers. About 35 percent watched sitcoms, comedies and dramas, while 19 percent of online TV viewers watched reality shows and 18 percent followed sports. Other forms of preferred online content included previews, user-generated material and additional clips from favorite shows, soap operas and advertisements.

Conference Board researchers said online viewing is up because people are moving away from appointment viewing. Personal convenience and the ability to watch preferred content anytime were the two main factors cited for watching online. Portability was considered another benefit.

“Online viewing allows users to watch TV on their own schedule, catch up on missed content and focus on their favorite programs,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “As result, about 20 percent of consumers say their traditional TV viewing has declined.”
-- Deborah D. McAdams

(Image of NBC’s “The Office” streamed on Hulu.com by thegirslmoma.)

More from TVB on Web implications for TV:
August 26, 2009: U.S. Broadband ‘Speed’ Remains Contradiction in Terms
The tubes are still a bit clogged. Since 2007, the average download Internet speed in the United States has increased by only 1.6 megabits per second, from 3.5 Mbps in 2007 to 5.1 Mbps in 2009.

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