Report: Online Viewing Starts to Replace TV

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.

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