A recent study reveals that one-fifth of U.S. TV viewers watch television online. This number represents a significant increase in the amount of online viewers since the fall of 2007. Tuesday, Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI) released a report on "Online Viewership" affirming that 58.4 percent of online viewers are between the ages of 25-44, compared to only 19.1% of 13-24 year olds. The largest segment of online watchers is affluent, well-educated, 25-44 year old working professional Caucasian

50% of the online viewers are watching current episodes of shows, the other half are doing either fill-in or catch-up watching, watching shows they’ve already seen or have missed. In some cases online viewing is higher than viewing on DVRs like TiVo.
One of the great fears of television broadcast companies is that the internet will cannibalize their viewership. “Television station owners have worried that they might be losing their place in the industry food chain as the Internet becomes an equally potent distribution outlet,” says a recent L.A. Times article. This appears to be happening, as television viewing is on the decline (the Writers’ Strike doing most of the damage).
“Everyone’s been talking about the Internet becoming a substitute for television; however this is the first single-source passive data to show that the migration from one platform to another is actually occurring – and it’s happening fast,” said Amanda Welsh, head of research for IMMI.
IMMI also notes the number of people watching shows online and not on TV is growing. This trend will obviously grow as network sites, Hulu, and other outlets make it easier and easier (not to mention less expensive) to watch shows online. The number is surely slated to rise, especially now that some big-ticket programming, like NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which averaged 15.75 million weekly viewers during the 2007 regular season, are streaming live on the internet.
Plus, you can’t take your TV to work with you.

By Mark Alvarez