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Some 80% of network TV video downloaders favor watching ads in exchange for free video (up from 67% in 2006), while 69% of network video streamers either watch the pre-roll ads before the video or listen to those ads while doing something else on the computer, according to a survey from Knowledge Networks.

Study results, according to Knowledge Networks provide clear evidence that both downloaders and, to a lesser extent streamers, of TV network video are becoming more accepting – or at least more tolerant – of advertising as an alternative to for-pay models. However, downloaders are more likely than streamers to say that ads on their favorite TV programs are relevant to them and also are more likely to buy from companies that advertise on their favorite programs.

Well over one-third (37%) of all internet users say they streamed TV network video – ranging from clips to full episodes – during the three-month study period, and 11% have watched downloaded network video in the same timeframe, the research found.

The acceptance of pre-roll ads might be attributable, in part, to their growing incidence and seemingly inevitable ubiquity. The number of streamers watching pre-roll ads has grown from 30% to 37%, while the incidence of watching video without pre-roll ads has dropped, from 15% to 10%, Knowledge Networks said.

“Streamers and downloaders particularly value the ability to watch full episodes of TV shows via the internet, and both groups accept the idea of ad-supported access,” said David Tice, VP and director of The Home Technology Monitor. “Downloaders are increasingly seeing advertising as an acceptable compromise for obtaining free network video; and while many streamers try to avoid preroll ads in some fashion, a surprising percentage is still exposed in one way or another.”

Additional study findings:

  • 37% of network video streamers watch pre-roll ads in those videos, and another 32% listen to the ads’ audio while doing other things on the computer
  • 17% of network video streamers have forwarded a link to a commercial or advertiser video (down from 26% in 2006), and 25% have ever gone to an advertiser’s site to watch a commercial (down from 28% in 2006).
  • Those who have downloaded network video (49%) are significantly more likely than streamers (34%) to say that ads on their favorite TV programs are relevant to them.

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  • Those who have downloaded network video (42%) are significantly more likely than streamers (26%) to say they are inclined to buy from companies that advertise on their favorite programs.
  • Downloaders who also stream are almost twice as likely as streamers overall to say that pre-roll ads are more relevant to them than the ads they see on regular television.

Additionally, the report also presents data about the differing attitudes and habits of those who download complete episodes, clips, or online-only features (such as bloopers and behind-the-scenes video). For example, streamers who exclusively watch full episodes have the highest likelihood (76%) of watching or listening to pre-roll ads.

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About the study: The findings are from How People Use TV’s Web Connections, a syndicated report from Knowledge Networks, produced as part of The Home Technology Monitor. The survey was conducted on the KnowledgePanel online panel among Internet users age 13-54. More than 1,900 people were interviewed, including 1,700 broadband users.

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