Only 9% of US adults have watched a full-length television program on the Internet, according to an August 2007 Ipsos Insight study conducted with Associated Press and AOL. But that’s not the full story…
The estimate is not quite as bleak as it may appear, since Ipsos surveyed all US adults, not just Internet users or online video viewers. The US Census Bureau
‘s mid-2006 estimate of the adult population was roughly 225 million. If 9% of the adult population has watched a full-length TV show online, that is over 20 million viewers.
"Rather than a wholesale shift in viewership from TV to the new-media channels, both media will actually grow in the next several years," said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst. "Internet video will entrench itself in the content mainstream, right alongside TV, albeit not in such pervasive numbers."
By 2011, eMarketer estimates that 86.6% of the US Internet population will view online video, up from 62.8% in 2006. This translates to 183 million viewers in 2011, up from 114 million in 2006.
A March 2007 Ipsos Insight study found that 26% of online video viewers age 12 and older had watched full-length TV shows online. Using the eMarketer 2006 online video population figure as a reference, that means that nearly 30 million people tuned in. That figure includes teenagers, which likely accounts for much of the difference.
Most of the other studies on TV programs viewed online combine full-length show watching with segments, making for even higher figures.
Granted, that could include old show clips posted to blogs or other formats that do not benefit copyright owners. Still, if 31% of 114 million Americans are watching TV online weekly, that is more than 35 milllion viewers uncaptured by TV/DVR ratings.