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Dramatic Increase in Streaming Online Video

Americans with Internet access are streaming more TV shows and movies than ever before. Recent data from an Ipsos market study illustrates that in the past 30 days, 26 percent of online Americans have streamed a full-length TV show and 14 percent have streamed a full-length movie.

This is more than two times the levels measured in September 2008. Not surprisingly, young adults 18 to 24 years of age have been the most ardent supporters of this medium.

What is surprising is just how supportive they are -- in the past 30 days, 30 percent have streamed a full-length movie and 51 percent have streamed a full-length TV show, which represent dramatic increases from last year.

The rapid rise in longer form video streaming can be attributed to the swift growth of many digital video OTT websites since last year. Hulu, in particular, has experienced heightened exposure and visitation, and has helped pioneer the transition to ad-supported free streaming of TV shows and movies.

Now that the ad-supported content model is taking off, content providers will be challenged to monetize their content through alternative fee-based methods given the acceptance of the ad-supported or free model. In addition, content providers will need to understand the appropriate level of advertising that streamers will be willing to tolerate for their content.

"The digital video revolution is no longer centered on short clips via YouTube; it is becoming an important distribution channel where any type of full-length video can be instantly accessed for immediate consumption without a fee," explains Brian Pickens, Senior Research Manager at Ipsos MediaCT.

This is not to say that digital video is replacing the TV. Currently, the average American with Internet access watches 15 hours of television per week, compared to less than two hours on their PC.

Furthermore, even among digital video users, 64 percent would rather watch hour-long dramas and half-hour comedies live on their TV than rent or purchase them, or watch them on their PC or portable device.

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