Online TV, Movie Streaming Accelerates in US

August 5, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Broadcast & Cable | Media & Entertainment | Technology | Television | Youth & Gen X

In the past 30 days, 26% of online Americans have streamed a full-length TV show and 14% have streamed a full-length movie, according to recent data from Ipsos MediaCT’s MOTION study.


This is more than two times the levels measured in September 2008, and indicates that – fueled by ad-supported websites that make it happen – streaming is growing quickly in popularity, the study found.

Young Adults Stream Most

Not surprisingly, the research found that young adults, ages 18-24, have been the most ardent supporters of streaming. In the past 30 days, 30% have streamed a full-length movie and 51% have streamed a full-length TV show. Both numbers represent significant increases over last year.

Website Growth Fuels Trend

The rapid rise in longer-form video streaming is happening because of the swift growth of many digital video websites since last year. Hulu, in particular, has experienced heightened exposure and visitation, and has helped pioneer the transition to ad-supported free streaming of TV shows and movies, Ipsos said. However, now that the ad-supported content model appears to be gaining acceptance,? content providers will need to understand the appropriate level of advertising that streamers will be willing to tolerate for their content.

“The digital video revolution is no longer centered on short clips via YouTube; it is becoming an important distribution channel where any type of full-length video can be instantly accessed for immediate consumption without a fee,” said Brian Pickens, senior research manager at Ipsos MediaCT.

Digital Video Not Replacing TV – Yet

Though streaming of TV shows and movies is on the rise and ChangeWave Reseach reported that online video does pose a threat to traditional TV watching among Baby Boomers, Ipsos said internet streaming is not yet having a significant effect on TV watching. Currently, the average American with internet access watches 15 hours of TV per week, compared to less than two hours on their PC.

The study found that even among digital video users, 64% 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. Ipsos suggested that these results show that TV is still preferred, especially considering the rapid growth of HDTV, now in 41% of homes with internet access.

Recent research from the Pew Internet & American Life project found that 62% of US adults now watch some type of internet video.

About the survey: Data were sourced from the April 2009 wave of Ipsos MediaCT’s quarterly syndicated MOTION study, which was conducted via online interviews among a representative online population ages 12+.

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