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Online TV Watching to Grow, But Not So Fast

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The number of people watching full episodes of broadcast and cable shows will continue to rise, but it will be inhibited by growth in DVRs and improvements to on-demand video services, according to Convergence Consulting. The research firm estimates that 23 percent of U.S. TV watchers will watch online episodes by 2010, up from 14 percent this year (update: chart corrected to reflect comments).

Most research we’ve seen pegs the number of online TV watchers somewhat higher, though these are never apples-to-apples comparisons. See our previous coverage for a summary of other research on online TV watching.

Convergence, which said ABC, NBC, and Viacom were the full-episode leaders in 2007, added that video clips get five times as many users as full episodes, but believes that proportion will go down to three times as much by 2011.

Meanwhile, DVR ownership is supposed to increase to 48 percent of U.S. TV subscribers by 2010, up from 25 percent in 2007. From the report:

Despite the hype, Online (both rental and sales) has major disadvantages compared to the other channels due to its revenue split with the Studios, movie distribution window and other impediments including the cost of purchasing a separate box for delivery from the computer to TV.

More on paid online video in a follow-up story.

7 Responses to “Online TV Watching to Grow, But Not So Fast”

  1. Just got a correction from Brahm to the Convergence Consulting report that clears up that point:

    “We estimate in 2007 that 9% of US TV viewers had also watched full-episode Broadcast/Cable Network TV online, up from 6% in 2006; we forecast 14% for 2008, 19% for 2009, and 23% for 2010.”

  2. “including the cost of purchasing a separate box for delivery from the computer to TV.” I still predict that in a few years new PCs and TVs will communicate wirelessly – no box required.

  3. Tom Coseven

    Liz, are you sure they intended “as a percent of total TV watching”? In other words, for every 100 hours of traditional TV watching there are 14 hours of web TV watching in 2008. This would throw the cable companies (and the networks) into full panic. The highest projections I have seen are in the low single digit percentage for next year.

    If they are saying “as a percentage of the traditional TV base” (and if this means viewers that are also watching traditional TV at an unreduced rate), then they might be low, as you suggest. In this case, a pretty unremarkable statistic.