Online TV-Watching Shift Mostly Due to Convenience

Mike Vorhaus on Digital Consumers

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Many consumers regularly visit official TV-network websites as well as YouTube, Hulu, Joost and other sites with TV content, both legal and illegal. Males 18 to 24 say they are most likely to visit Fox.com, and females 18 to 24 say they're most likely to visit ABC.com. However, a majority of consumers say they do not watch online video regularly at any of the network sites.

Mike Vorhaus
Photo: Stephanie Diani
Mike Vorhaus is senior VP-managing director of new media and strategy for Frank N. Magid Associates.
What's the greatest driver for watching TV shows on the network sites? The desire to time-shift. The viewers simply could not be in front of the TV at the time the show was originally broadcast. This finding concurs with much of the proprietary research we have done in this regard and implies that online TV viewing is generally accretive, not cannibalizing. (However, 11% of online video viewers say they watch less TV now that they are watching online video on their computers.)

A plurality of consumers, 44%, say ads in online videos are just as acceptable as ads on TV shows. Another 8% indicate that ads are more acceptable online than on TV, but 19% disagree, saying they're less acceptable. Interestingly, 29% of people say they're not sure.

Qualitatively, we hear consumers say the number of ads required to watch TV shows online is a "good deal," because the ads only amount to a fraction of the commercials encountered when shows are actually viewed on TV.

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