In the past 30 days, 26 percent of online Americans have streamed a full-length TV show and 14 percent have streamed a full-length movie, according to Ipsos MediaCT.
This is more than two times the levels measured in September 2008, Ipsos says. Not surprisingly, young adults 18 to 24 years of age have been the most ardent supporters of this medium. In the past 30 days, 30 percent of users in this age range have streamed a full-length movie and 51 percent have streamed a full-length TV show, a dramatic increase from last year, Ipsos says.
You can thank Hulu (News
) and other video Web sites for the change in behavior, at least with respect to ad-supported TV shows and movies.
Ad-supported mobile video likely is next, though business models in that realm might rely on for-fee mechanisms more than PC-based video consumption has used.
“The digital video revolution is no longer centered on short clips via YouTube (News
); it is becoming an important distribution channel where any type of full-length video can be instantly accessed for immediate consumption without a fee,” says Brian Pickens, Ipsos MediaCT senior research manager.
What is not entirely clear is how much Internet or mobile video is cannibalizing traditional multi-channel video subscriptions, and how much in incremental viewing.
Ipsos researchers think digital video largely is incremental. Currently the average American with Internet access watches 15 hours of television per week, compared to less than two hours on their PC.
So though there is anecdotal evidence that some users are using Internet video in place of subscription TV, the demand curve seems to be shifting. Right now, the Internet viewing options are not close to equivalent.
Among digital video users, 64 percent say they still would rather watch hour-long dramas and half-hour comedies live on their TV than rent or purchase them, or watch them on their PC or portable device.
And much now hinges on what content providers decide to do. Cable operators hope that making PC access a new feature of standard subscription TV, they can blunt substitution effects. In essence, they would legitimize widespread "Sling" capabilities, allowing users to place shift where they consume video they have paid to watch.
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Gary Kim is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi