More People Watching TV Shows Online

Well, whaddya know. After we asked, earlier this month, who watches TV shows online, research firms TNS and The Conference Board have piped in with an answer: Roughly sixteen percent of American Internet households watch TV broadcasts online.

“Although online television viewing is still not a widespread phenomenon, the proportion of users has increased since 2006 and is likely to increase over time, given consumers’ love for entertainment,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.


People who are watching TV online say they primarily do so because they like the convenience and the ability to avoid commercials, according to the study. Among other tidbits revealed in the data:

  • Of those watching TV content online, 42 percent are catching up on missed shows (up from 30 percent last year)
  • TV shows have replaced news as the most-watched content online.
  • The top methods used by people to watch TV shows are streaming and free downloads.

This data bodes well for networks putting their shows online and the advertisers who pay to reach audiences. From the research:

“Over the next few years, the growing popularity of viewing TV episodes/shows online is going to have a huge impact on the way brands and advertisers communicate with viewers,” said Shari Morwood, executive VP of technology, telecommunications and media at TNS. “If advertisers can effectively leverage the online video platform, we should see much more interactivity and emotional connection between brands and the online TV viewing audience.