A new poll in the UK shows that people who watch online videos tend to watch less television. It looks like they didn’t take into account that people with broadband Internet connections in general watch less television, so the poll may be more of a simple testament to the fact that as people spend more time on the Internet, television time suffers.
Regardless, the writing is on the wall. Sure, YouTube and CBS partnered up to declare that CBS clips on Youtube actually increased overall tv ratings, but that is almost certainly hogwash. It’s a good diversionary tactic for YouTube as they continue to grow and the networks stand around with a funny, confused look on their face. But at the end of the day, people want to consume content without the friction of having to sit down in front of a television at an appointed time. That friction doesn’t disappear just because a show clip is up on YouTube. People want to see the whole show on YouTube. There is a fundamental shift in consumer behavior going on – and the question is no longer if, but rather when, more television consumption will occur via the Internet than traditional broadcast and cable television.
The key tipping point will be when a startup is able to distribute proper television content over the Internet legally. People will begin to abandon their cable tv subscriptions in favor of Internet distribution. MobiTV is in the best current position to do this – they have a ton of cash and are only a few deals away from being able to offer the equivalent of a cable television subscription over the Internet. And The Venice Project may also win. iTunes will continue to pursue their pay per show model, and that will also take market share. See links below.
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