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Will Consumers Tolerate More Online TV Ads?

A new comScore study, based on a survey of more than 1,800 U.S. consumers, grouped viewers into three segments -- TV-only viewers (65 percent), cross-platform (i.e. TV + online) viewers (29 percent) and online-only viewers (6 percent).

Respondents were asked questions regarding their "advertising tolerance." The questions were designed to assess the levels of advertising (based on one minute increments from 0-15 minutes) viewers would tolerate when watching one hour of TV programming on the Internet.

According to comScore, the results indicated online advertising might actually be tolerated between 6 and 7 minutes per hour -- higher than the approximately 4 minutes per hour that is currently tolerated by consumers.

When cross-platform viewers were asked about their motivations for consuming a portion of their TV content online, freedom in time and space emerged as primary motivators.

75 percent of these viewers selected online over TV because they were able to watch the show wherever they wanted, while 74 percent selected online because they were able to watch the show on their own time. They also preferred online TV viewing for the ability to stop and play shows when they wanted (70 percent) and less interference from commercials (67 percent).

When asked specifically why they watched TV episodes online, the most frequently cited reason among cross-platform viewers was that they had missed an episode on TV (71 percent), followed by convenience (57 percent) and fewer ads (38 percent). That's right, more than a third try to escape the advertising by viewing TV online.

Time shifting of TV viewing is most prevalent among younger TV viewers, with only 35 percent of viewers age 18-24 indicating they watched episodes live, 42 percent saying they watched the programming at a different time within one week of the original air date and 23 percent saying that they watched more than one week after the original air date.

25-34 year olds exhibited fairly similar time-shifting behavior to 18-24 year olds, while older age segments exhibited the least amount of time-shifting behavior.

Younger TV viewers are also more likely to watch TV across media with 54 percent of cross-platform viewers being under the age of 35 compared to just 30 percent of TV-only viewers.

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