Report: One Quarter of Online Videos Are Viewed in Primetime

For years, online video has been viewed primarily as a time-wasting activity that happens during work hours or when people aren’t near a TV or other forms of entertainment. But that could be changing, as new data from Scanscout suggests that online video is sneaking into the living room during primetime hours.

According to ScanScout‘s Online Video Insights report, 24 percent of all videos streamed in March were watched in the primetime hours between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., when most TV networks show their top programming. The hour between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. — the time slot for broadcast TV hits like ABC’s (s DIS) Lost and Fox’s (s NWS) 24 — was the most active for both streams and unique viewers across most types of video content.

The data underlines the possibility of online video encroaching on traditional TV viewing. While most programmers will tell you that they see online video as “complementary” to their broadcast or cable offerings, the rise of primetime viewing for online entertainment suggests otherwise.

While viewing in primetime was high in general, there’s also evidence that users are turning to online video when there’s nothing better on the boob tube. Weekend daily viewership was about 31 percent higher than during the weekday, which could also suggest that users are tuning into online video more at home than during the work hours. Among categories that were significantly higher during the weekend, sports and automotive content were 50 percent and 45 percent higher, respectively.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: Survey: Who Are Those Masked Online Video Viewers? (subscription required)