Posted by: Tony Carson | 21 September, 2007

Web TV on the rise, to double next year

Today, 18 percent of the nation’s online population watches TV shows on their computers, reports LiveScience in TV on the Web Embraced by Viewers and Advertisers.

That’s double the rate of last year, and the figure is expected to double next year, said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. McQuivey notes that the online population is about two thirds of the total U.S. population.

Currently, the main way to access TV shows on the Internet is to go to the Web site of one of the big four networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) where they post their shows a day after they are broadcast, and leave them typically for a month, McQuivey said. The shows are free but are streamed, meaning they are displayed as they arrive on your computer and not stored there.

The far less popular second option is to buy and download individual episodes from iTunes or Amazon for $1.99 each. You then own the file and you can watch it at any time on any device you own, McQuivey explained.

A third option is to stream programs from third-party Web sites, such as Yahoo, MSN, MySpace, AOL and any other service that has elected to carry them to boost traffic and get a share of the show’s ad revenue, he added. Services such as Joost and TVU Networks are also experimenting with inserting new advertisements into programs for local markets.

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