More Viewers Seek TV Shows Online

SAN FRANCISCO For a growing number of viewers, television sets are not the only places they find their favorite shows. They also catch them on their computers via the Internet.

According to a survey by the Conference Board and TNS Media Intelligence, 16 percent of consumers view entire episodes on the Internet, double the number from last year. Online viewers cite convenience and lack of commercials as their top two reasons for watching TV on the Internet, per the “Consumer Internet Barometer” survey, which was conducted in the third quarter and released Oct. 15.

“Although online television viewing is still not a widespread phenomenon, it is likely to increase over time, given consumers’ love for online entertainment,” said Lynn Franco, Conference Board consumer research director.

Nearly 73 percent of online households watch or listen to entertainment on the Internet every day, and an additional 15 percent seek out online entertainment several times per week, said the survey.

Four out of every five online TV watchers told researchers their Web-based viewing habits have not cut into their traditional TV viewing time, but a small percentage reported that such viewing has decreased.

“Personal convenience is the top reason for online viewing because much of the same content available on television is also available online,” said Franco.

TV shows have replaced the news as the most widely viewed content online, per the report. The top methods for viewing broadcasts online are streaming and free downloading: About two-thirds of viewers stream online content, and more than 40 percent download content for free.

The “Consumer Internet Barometer” is based on a mail survey of 10,000 households.