Online TV viewing on the rise, says new study

Latest SRG report indicates consumer nods to online streaming on major nets, and that boundaries between TV, video and social brands are blurring.

Momentum for online TV viewing is growing in Canada, according to research-based consulting firm SRG’s latest Fast Forward Quarterly which based its findings on 1,000 online consumers in November last year, as part of ongoing tracking of the evolution of digital lifestyles in the country.

According to the study, to which major technology, telecom and content companies in Canada, ranging from Microsoft and Rogers to 20th Century Fox, are subscribers, 41% of online Canadians report having watched a TV show via the Internet, and about half of this audience (one in five online Canadians) watch online TV at least once a week.

The quarterly also indicates that short video viewing is becoming nearly universal, with over 70% watching short clips or streaming content on a regular basis – said to be double the rate of Q4 2006 viewing levels.

Aside from YouTube, top-of-mind destinations for video content in Canada include Google, Facebook, CTV, Yahoo!, MSN, Global, MySpace and CBC suggesting that boundaries between TV and video brands, aggregators and social brands – where people post links to video content – are blurring.

Findings show that 13% of visitors to, 9% of visitors to and 6% to said they visited the respective sites primarily to watch a TV show online during the survey period.

In the US, where networks have been streaming for a number of years, a higher percentage of web visits are to view a specific show, states the report, with 31% of visits to US market leader for that very reason.

‘With greater availability of streaming, online Canadians are watching shows as diverse as House and Heroes to Grey’s Anatomy and Coronation Street online,’ states a recent release about the findings, pointing to findings of 3 in 5 online Canadians agreeing with the statement ‘soon all TV shows will be available for viewing on the Internet.’

Finally, while a significant number of households continue to operate their HD sets without a HD box (about 1.5 million), HD box adoption has grown compared to last year, with 32% of Canadian households (~4 million homes) now with an HD-capable set.

Comparatively, PVRs show only gradual growth and among digital cable subscribers overall, 12% use VOD on a weekly basis, a level the report states has remained flat over several quarters of tracking.