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.