Surveys: Many people are now watching TV online
As much as 20 percent of all TV viewing in the US now happens online, says a survey released this week by Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI), supporting other recent research which also indicates that the Internet is fast turning into the top choice for many.
For the first time this year, a significant part of the online audience for primetime TV episodes is not watching some portion of the show on TV, according to IMMI's new survey results. Recent launches of sites like Hulu, offering full episodes of programs, is surely bolstering the trend.
For some shows, online viewing is higher than DVR playback. Yet the IMMI researchers also contend that only about one-third of American households own DVRs, whereas about 82 percent of them have Internet access.
About 29 percent of "traditional live TV viewers" use a DVR frequently, in contrast to just 22 percent of online TV viewers.
Around 50 percent of all online viewing was characterized by IMMI's respondents as "TV replacement," whereas 31 percent of the time, it was described as "catch-up viewing," and 18 percent of the time as "fill-in viewing."
Online TV as a "TV replacement" is certainly nothing new. As previously reported in BetaNews, in a study conducted by Burst during the recent Hollywood writer's strike, almost half of those surveyed were spending more time than usual online, in order to avoid repeat programming on TV.
Although that particular study didn't ask the TV defectors how they spent their time online, it's probably a good bet that a lot of them were viewing videos.
Europe seems to be much further ahead of the US in watching TV online, according to a survey by Motorola. Even back in mid-2007, when that survey was published, 45 percent of respondents across the UK, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy claimed to be watching at least some TV online, with France taking the lead at 59 percent.
Given the choice, why do some people prefer watching TV online? Another recent survey -- this one conducted by Simmons, a unit of Esperian -- showed that viewers are 25 percent "more engaged" when watching TV online.
Released last December, the Simmons study defined "engagement" according to six characteristics that respondents identify with media: "personal time-out," "social interaction," "inspirational," "trustworthy," "life-enhancing," and ad receptivity.
Although that could be, maybe people just find it interesting to get up off the couch, ditch the remote, and flip around between various Web sites - some showing TV programs, and others offering music, downloadable software, social networking, news, gaming, e-mail, search engines, and an endless array of other stuff.