Friday, July 1, 2011

Streaming Makes Inroads into Prime Time

A Yahoo!/Interpret study of 4100 online video viewers is revealing a shift in online viewing habits.  A 2009 study, online video viewing dropped significantly in the 6-9 pm daypart, arguably as they switched to more traditional TV channels.  Now, 45% report watching some Web video during prime time "yesterday."  (the study asked about use of online video in the last 24 hours)
 The growth of Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services certainly contributed to the shift - the number reporting watching streamed content from Netflix doubled, and those streaming from Hulu increased 67%. While the absolute numbers of online videos streamed increased, there were also a notable shift in the kinds of content streamed.  In 2009, 84% of online videos watched were short clips, while 11% were full-length TV shows, and 5% movies.  In 2011, the proportion of short clips dropped to 74% of all online videos watched, while the proportions for full-length TV shows increased to 18%, and full-length movies accounted for 8%. 
For now, the impact on traditional television viewing (broadcast, cable & DBS) is minimal, and the focus of the study was not on whether this viewing was reducing traditional viewing, so you shouldn't necessarily infer that viewers are abandoning traditional TV media for online.  At least not yet.  But the study supports the idea that audience media use habits are starting to shift and that many viewers find value in terms of being able to watch TV programs and movies when they want, rather than when stations and channels program them.

Source: "Prime Time is Web Video Time?", VidBlog
"Online video shifts to primetime viewing," Gigacom
Press release from Yahoo! Insights

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