CTAM and Nielsen released a study titled, A Barometer of Broadband Content and Its Users, that reveals 81 million people have viewed online video, either at work or at home. ‘This number increased from 70 million in September 2006 to 81 million in March 2007, a jump of 16% in just six months.’ One of the more interesting findings is that online video viewing appears to be having minimal impact on traditional television viewing. In fact, the study postulates that online viewing may increase traditional television viewing. ‘Thirty-three percent of those surveyed indicated that watching video over broadband Internet increased their television viewing time, vs. 13 percent who indicated it decreased their traditional television viewing.’ Good news for the subscription video market of cable, IPTV, and DBS.
Perhaps the early demise predictions of traditional television have been premature. One potential issue raised by the study’s results is the link between viewing web distributed video on the television and consumption of that content. ‘Based on respondent feedback, widespread consumer use of broadband video seems to be contingent on Internet platform video content becoming more easily accessible via home television sets. At that point, consumers say, Internet video fare could assume its place as another source for content on demand.’ When Internet based video is as easily accessed via the television as is traditional linear content (a la, ‘assumes its place as another source for content on demand’), will future statistics be in line with these current results? In other words, this may not be a ‘fair fight’ right now, because you have two different experiences and access methodologies for consuming Internet and linear content respectively. But as those two experiences converge, and you can seamlessly access content from either source, the implications may be much more pronounced.