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Online TV viewership doubled in the last two years

The latest research for The Conference Board and TNS shows that nearly one-fifth of U.S. households who use the Internet watch television broadcasts online, a twofold increase since 2006. Nearly 72 percent of online households log on for entertainment purposes on a daily basis, and one in ten cites entertainment as the most important internet activity.

Flexibility and not being tied to and being able to watch broadcasts on their own time and at their convenience are schedule are among the main reasons for Internet TV's popularity. Other reasons include the ability to avoid commercials and portability. The top two destinations for online broadcasts are the official TV channel homepage and, the survey found.

The most popular content to view online are news, drama, sitcom/comedy, reality shows and sports, with user-generated content following close behind. Around 43 percent of viewers tune into the news, 39 percent watch drama shows, 34 percent view sitcom/comedy shows, 23 percent watch reality shows, 16 percent view sports, and 15 percent view user-generated content. Previews, additional content from favourite shows, soap operas, and advertisements are also popular with consumers.

Among online TV viewers, almost nine out of ten watch online broadcasts at home. About 15 percent say they watch Internet broadcasts in the office, and 6 percent watch TV online from other locations, including the library or a friend's home.

"Most consumers are pressed for time and require flexibility in their daily schedules and TV viewing habits," said Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Being able to watch broadcasts on their own time and at their convenience are clearly reasons why we are seeing a greater number turning to the Internet. And, it is the reason why we would expect to see this trend continue."

The research also reveals that the top methods for viewing broadcasts online are streaming video, used by 68 percent of online TV viewers, and free download, used by 38 percent of viewers. In addition, the majority of consumers are unwilling to enroll in pay per download and subscription services.

Michael Saxon, Senior Vice President, Brand and Communications, TNS, added: "Fundamentally, consumers expect content to be available when they want it, and on the screen of their choice — TV, PC, or mobile. For consumers, PCs enhance content on demand from simply time-shifting to place-shifting. Online content can be viewed in any room in the house, or at work or school."