Study: Web Video Taking Bite Out of TV in Britain

A recent survey conducted by ICM, a market research firm, for the BBC suggests the current popularity of online video sites—and the associated boost in Web video viewers—is taking a bite out of the amount of time people spend in front of their television sets, Reuters reports.

Some 2,070 people in Britain were queried on the subject, and roughly 43 percent of them who claimed to watch Web video on a computer or mobile device at least once a week said their time spent watching TV decreased as a result, according to Reuters.

About 75 percent of respondents said they currently view more online video content on computers or mobiles than they did one year ago, Reuters reports. Younger people seem to be embracing Web video more strongly than older folks, with 28 percent of respondents between the ages of 16 and 24 saying they watch Web video more than once a week and only 4 percent of people over age 45 claiming to view such content at least two times every week, according to Reuters.

It’s worth noting that despite the larger number of Web surfers who say they now watch more online video content than in the past, less than 10 percent of those queried said they watch online video regularly, Reuters reports.

The popularity of such sites as YouTube and MySpace, which let their users post and share video clips with additional Web surfers, has been a driving force behind the increase in online video viewing.

The Web video phenomenon hasn’t hit Britain as hard as the United States due to the fact that fewer network television stations make their content available via online download locales like Apple Computer’s popular iTunes Store, according to Reuters, and it’s likely that increased viewing of Web video has had similar effects on TV viewers in the United States as well.

More and more U.K. entities are making their content available online in hopes of riding the wave created by YouTube, MySpace and others, and the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 all plan to make the majority of their TV content available via the Web by early 2007, Reuters reports.

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