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Popularity of watching online TV grows, finds survey

Nearly 20 percent of U.S. Internet households watch television broadcasts online, double the viewership from 2006, according to a new report from The Conference Board and TNS.

According to the report, the top two destinations for online broadcasts are the home pages of TV channels and Respondents cited a variety of reasons for turning to the Internet to view TV broadcasts, including:

  • not liking the set broadcast schedule;
  • desire to timeshift and convenience of online viewing;
  • avoiding commercials; and
  • portability.

Nearly 72 percent of online households log on for entertainment purposes on a daily basis. Ten percent say entertainment is their most important Internet activity.

The top five types of shows viewed online are news, drama, sitcom/comedy, reality shows and sports. User-generated content followed close behind. Among consumers connecting to online broadcasts:

  • 43 percent tune into the news.
  • 39 percent watch drama shows.
  • 34 percent view sitcom/comedy shows.
  • 23 percent watch reality shows.
  • 16 percent view sports.
  • 15 percent view user-generated content.

Other categories attracting viewers include previews, additional content from favorite shows, soap operas and advertisements.

Among online TV viewers, almost nine in 10 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.

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.

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