Measuring what people say they do, doesn’t always jibe with measuring what they actually do, but I had bigger issues with the way they used the terms “TV Viewing” and “TV Viewers” and “TV Content”.

I don’t doubt that more TV viewers go to YouTube than Hulu on a monthly basis.  I wouldn’t even be surprised if more people were watching TV clips on YouTube than Hulu.  But when it comes to “TV viewing” in terms of watching full shows, I would be surprised if Hulu wasn’t already bigger than YouTube.

For some people that will sound really nitpicky, for others, not nearly nitpicky enough.  Either way, the trend is that more people are watching more TV online, and that trend isn’t going to change.  Even if only a tiny fraction of TV viewing currently happens online and even if press releases like this never mention that…

via press release:

TV Viewing Moves Online

September 8, 2009

Nearly one out of four U.S. households watches TV online, up from 20 percent last year, reports The Conference Board and TNS. And Hulu.com is fast becoming the hot site – just behind YouTube.com – for watching TV programs. In fact, the number of households visiting Hulu.com has increased almost fourfold in the last year.

The Consumer Internet Barometer, a quarterly report produced by The Conference Board, the global business membership and research association, and TNS, a global market insight and information group, surveys 10,000 households across the country and tracks who’s doing what on the Internet.

Nearly 80 percent of consumers log on daily for entertainment. In fact, entertainment is cited as one of the most important Internet activities, behind only personal communication and work-related activities.

The End of ‘Appointment TV’?

Consumers are moving away from “appointment” TV, preferring to watch programs whenever they choose. Being able to view favorite shows at any time, along with personal convenience, are the two major reasons cited by more than half of consumers for turning to online TV. Consumers also cite portability as another benefit.

“Online viewing allows users to watch TV on their own schedule, catch up on missed content and focus on their favorite programs,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “As result, about 20 percent of consumers say their traditional TV viewing has declined.”

News shows are the most popular online programs – watched by about 43 percent of online TV viewers. About 35 percent enjoy sitcoms, comedies and dramas, while 19 percent of online TV viewers indulge in reality shows and 18 percent follow sports. Other forms of online content include previews, user-generated content, additional content from favorite shows, soap operas and advertisements.

Hulu.Com Users Nearly Quadruple

Two-thirds of all online TV viewers access their favorite programs through streaming video, while 41 percent utilize free download. Nine out of ten online viewers enjoy online TV from their own home. One out of ten logs on at the office.

More than two-thirds of online TV viewers access television content through the official TV channel’s homepage. Youtube.com still retains second place, accessed by 42 percent of online TV viewers. There has been a great explosion in the popularity of Hulu.com, a website that features streaming video from many major television networks. Usage has grown from 8 percent of households in 2008 to 32 percent today.

“The rise of Hulu is not just a coincidence,” says Bernard Brenner, Senior Vice President, Innovation & Product Development at TNS. “Hulu and other online TV viewing options have created a user experience equivalent to how people self categorize content – sorting by brand, genre and popularity. This user experience, along with a deep library of branded content, has created a service that continues to resonate with users.”
About This Survey:

The Consumer Internet Barometer is based on a quarterly survey of 10,000 households. A unique sample is surveyed each quarter. Return rates average 70 percent, which ensures highly representative data. Data is weighted as well to reflect the latest U.S. household demographic information. The latest survey was conducted during the third quarter of 2009.

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business-membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance AND better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

About TNS

TNS, which recently merged with Research International, is the world’s largest custom research agency delivering actionable insights and research-based business advice to its clients so they can make more effective business decisions. TNS offers comprehensive industry knowledge within the Consumer, Technology, Finance, Automotive and Political & Social sectors, supported by a unique product offering that stretches across the entire range of marketing and business issues, specializing in product development & innovation, brand & communication, stakeholder management, retail & shopper, and qualitative research. Delivering best-in-class service across more than 70 countries, TNS is part of Kantar, the world’s largest research, insight and consultancy network. Please visit http://www.tns-us.com for more information.

The Kantar Group

The Kantar Group is one of the world’s largest research, insight and consultancy networks. By uniting the diverse talents of more than 20 specialist companies – including the recently-acquired TNS – the group aims to become the preeminent provider of compelling and actionable insights for the global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 80 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies. The Kantar Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WPP Group plc. For further information, please visit www.kantargrouptns.com.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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