US punters tune into online TV

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US punters tune into online TV

Convenience and avoiding ads cited as top reasons.

One-in-ten US internet users watches television broadcasts online, according to the research released today.

The latest Consumer Internet Barometer from The Conference Board and research firm TNS reported that online viewers say personal convenience and avoiding commercials are the top reasons for watching TV broadcasts online. Only a small percentage of consumers claim that their traditional television viewing has decreased, while three out of every four online viewers report no change in their viewing habits.

According to the report, more than two-thirds of online consumers log on daily for entertainment purposes and an additional 16 percent log on for entertainment several times a week. One-in-ten online consumers watches TV broadcasts via the Internet, and about one-third of these households consist of multiple viewers.

Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Centre, said: " Although online television viewing is not a widespread phenomenon, the proportion of users is likely to increase over time given consumers' penchant for entertainment."

"As we have learned through our ongoing research, those content providers who communicate the value, context and capabilities of online programming will be positioned to grab the greatest share of the growing market for online entertainment," added Edye Twer, a TNS senior vice president specialising in the Media and Entertainment sector.

"Additionally, this is representative of a larger trend toward, 'anytime, anywhere' viewing that includes the use of digital video recorders, video on demand and portable video players, such as the iPod."

More than three out of five online TV viewers cite personal convenience as the major reason for watching TV broadcasts online. Another reason for viewing online is the ability to avoid commercials. Other reasons are portability and a preference for computer viewing.

Online viewers tend to watch news broadcasts more often than other types of broadcasts, with more than 62 percent logging on for news content. Close to 50 percent go online for entertainment viewing. Catching up on missed content, previews, sports, and watching entire episodes of shows are also among the top draws cited by more than a quarter of viewers.

The most popular methods for viewing TV broadcasts online are streaming and free download, cited by 53 percent and 49 percent of viewers respectively. Very few consumers are willing to pay per download or enroll in subscription services.
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