Horowitz: Alternative TV Viewing Still Relatively Small

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The migration of television viewers to the web is still more hype than reality according to a recent Horowitz Associates Inc, survey which revealed that only 17% of cable and satellite subscribers watch video content on a computer or handled device each month.

"The State of Digital and Interactive Television" survey of 800 multichannel customers states that subscribers still prefer watching video on a traditional television set, despite the proliferation of video content from cable and broadcast networks on the Web. Only 2% of all content viewed monthly by the surveyed subscribers is watched on a platform other than a TV set, according to the survey.

Further, consumers watch on average 130.2 hours or TV programming on a TV set per month, compared to just 1.7 hours of video content on a computer and 0.3 hours on a hand-held device.

YouTube.com, ABC.com, Hulu.com, and NBC.com are among the Web sites consumers turn to watch TV fare, with 24% of all alternative platform viewing coming from drama shows, followed by news (14%), comedy shows (13%), sports (13%), and sitcoms (11%).

"It is not a surprise, but it's worth emphasizing, that there is nothing with regard to multiplatform that is even close to challenging the dominance of and preference for TV on TV," said Adriana Waterston, vice president of marketing and business development at Horowitz Associates. "Multiplatform really can extend the reach and accessibility of TV as a medium to deliver content and communications at all times, places, and circumstances."

A point of concern for operators is that 20% of those watching video content on other platforms would get rid of their TV service if all or most of the TV programs they want to watch were available on their PCs. Overall, 7% of all surveyed consumers said they would drop cable if their favorite shows were available over the Web.

"Currently, the number of people who may think about 'cord-cutting' vis-à-vis their TV service provider is marginal, but it is a number to watch going forward," said Horowitz Associates president Howard Horowitz.

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