Survey: Web viewing up

Online viewership of TV shows doubles

Call it the rise of the desk potato.

According to a recent survey, online viewership of television broadcasts has almost doubled since 2006 to nearly 20% of Internet families. Of those, report the Conference Board and TNS Global, 72% watch programs online for entertainment purposes on a daily basis.

Users cited portability, time flexibility and the ability to evade commercials as the main reasons for the eyeball migration, and listed news, drama, sitcoms/comedy, reality shows and sports as their five favorite programming categories.

The most popular destinations for TV on the PC are the channel/network’s homepage and, natch, YouTube. Apple’s iTunes and Fox/NBC’s Hulu also got a shout-out. The survey, conducted during the third quarter, canvassed 10,000 U.S. households.

“The shift from appointment TV to content on demand is well under way,” trumpeted Michael Saxon, TNS’ senior veep of brand and communications. “For consumers PCs enhance content on demand from simply time-shifting to place-shifting.”

Along with their platform flexibility, many online viewers are also partial to multiple delivery methods, as 68% reported watching streaming video and 38% taking advantage of free downloads.

“Free” being a key word: The survey found few mouse jockeys willing to enroll in pay-per-watch or subscription schemes.