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Report: Online Viewing Starts to Replace TV

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Networks continue to insist that online television viewing is additive, but I for one think there’s no way that will last long term. And for the first time ever in May, a significant portion of U.S.-based online viewers of prime-time episodic television shows failed to watch part of those shows on television as well, according to Integrated Media Measurement. Fifty percent of online viewers consider watching prime-time network shows online a replacement for television viewing, the firm said.

As for the other half, 31.3 percent use streaming episodes as catch-up, while 18.7 percent watch streaming episodes to fill in episodes they missed or re-watch something they’ve already seen on TV. But there’s no demographic difference among the three groups — they all trend towards affluent, well-educated, 25- to 44-year-old Caucasian female professionals.

“The migration of consumption from one platform to another is only a matter of time,” was IMMI’s conclusion.

Up to 20 percent of episodic content viewing occurs online, according to IMMI. They arrived at that number by counting a bit differently than previous reports, which measure which portion of a group of consumers view content online — anywhere from 16 to 43 percent, according to research we’ve collected.

Here’s the PDF of the IMMI report, via paidContent. IMMI studied some 3,000 teens and adults and 14 prime-time shows from two major networks in the fall of 2007 and the spring of 2008.

13 Responses to “Report: Online Viewing Starts to Replace TV”

  1. icarus

    ” I for one think there’s no way that will last long term. “

    I guess you haven’t spent any time on Zipityzap. There’s lots of great stuff that you just can’t get on cable or satellite. And we’re just at the tip of the iceberg.

  2. While the report implies cannibalization, it is also possible that much or most of the online viewing is incremental. Why? Perhaps the online availability of the show generates trial that may not otherwise have occurred.