Time-shifting, commercial zapping grows, study says

Nearly 80 million Americans — or 43 percent of the online population — have watched one of their favorite TV shows on the Internet, up significantly from 12 months ago when that figure was just 25 percent.

Additionally, 20 percent of the U.S. online population said it watched television on the Web on a weekly basis, compared to the 14 percent who said they took advantage of cable’s video-on-demand offerings.

The findings, part of the “Digital Life America” tracking study conducted quarterly by Solutions Research Group, also found:

  • Twenty-one percent of all visits to a major network Web site were done “to watch a specific show.”
  • Of the major network sites, abc.com received the highest user experience score among those who streamed a TV show, with 52 percent rating their overall experience as “excellent,” followed by fox.com, with 44 percent ranking the experience as “excellent.”

Solution Research Group, which interviewed 1150 Americans 12 years old and older in November 2007 for the study, asked those who viewed one of the leading 20 primetime shows in the past 24 hours to identify the source of viewing. Overall, 25 percent of primetime viewing was time-shifted using a DVR, broadband, mobile or similar technology. Among viewers ages 18 to 34, 34 percent of viewing was time-shifted. Among 18- to 49-year-olds with a DVR, a 55 percent of the leading 20 shows were time-shifted.

If a household has a DVR and broadband, the digital video recorder is the preferred means of time shifting. The study also found that DVR users are becoming more aggressive in skipping commercials. Sixty-five percent said they “always” skip commercials compared to 52 percent a year ago.

For more information, visit www.srgnet.com.