Online TV Audience Reaches 26 Percent

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26 percent of US consumers watch TV programming online more than once a week, according to a new report from In-Stat titled “OTT Video Platforms, Devices, and Consumer Expectations.” And more and more of these consumers watch online video in the living room, thanks to game consoles, Roku boxes and Internet-enabled TV sets. In-Stat estimates that there were 24 million web-enabled devices in operation in the U.S. by the end of 2009, and its analysts believe that this number will grow to 102 million by 2013.

In-Stat analyst Keith Nissen went on the record to say that cable companies don’t have to fear cord cutters just yet. “Nearly 40% of consumer broadband household respondents want a combination of linear TV and on-demand TV,” he said, adding that to date nearly three quarters get all their video from their pay TV provider.

The impact Hulu & Co. are having on paid services has been a constant point of debate in recent months. The New York Times noted today in a somewhat dismissive portrait of cord cutters that cable, satellite and IPTV subscribers gained 1.7 million new subscribers in the last three quarters of 2009, prompting Leichtman Research Group president Bruce Leichtman to call cord cutters “a bizarre breed of people… who don’t watch a lot of television in the first place.”

However, it seems like free and subscription-based streaming is already having an impact on another part of the industry. A new report from ScreenDigest suggests that revenue for paid online VOD is growing much slower than expected. StreamDigest estimates that the industry only made $291 million from download-to-own sales and Internet VOD in 2009, and it also downgraded its online VOD and download-to-own estimates to $943 million in 2014.

Related content on GigaOm Pro: For Wal-mart, There’s More to Vudu Than VOD (subscription  required)

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