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Streaming Video Viewers Watch More Regular TV

Viewers who stream TV and movies from the Internet to their TVs are actually watching the same amount or more of regularly scheduled TV than they were before, according to a new study that was conducted by Nielsen for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) that challenges a number of commonly held assumptions about online video. The study also found that few of these viewers are planning to cut the cord and get rid of their multichannel TV provider

The study found that 84% of those who watch video from the Internet on their television sets were watching the same amount or more of regularly scheduled TV as they were before they started streaming video. Moreover, 92% of those viewers subscribe to a pay TV service and only 3% reported that they were planning to give up their cable subscriptions.

This data contradicts the widely held view that the growing popularity and availability of online video will encourage more multichannel subscribers to drop their subscriptions. "So far Chicken Little was wrong," said Char Beales, president and CEO of CTAM in a statement. "We've learned that new technologies are providing additional opportunities for viewers to access TV shows and movies at their convenience. But it's supplementing viewing of regularly-scheduled TV, not replacing it."

The study also found that many viewers were using the Internet to discover shows they might have otherwise missed, said Todd Cunningham, senior VP, strategic insights and research at MTV Networks, who was one of the volunteer leaders overseeing the study. "More than half of the respondents...say they discovered shows by viewing them on TV via the Internet first and then sought them out on regularly scheduled TV," Cunningham said in a statement.

The "Life is a Stream" was conducted by Nielsen in July and August of this year. It used Survey Sampling International's online panel and included males and females aged 18 to 49 that watched at least five hours of TV per week and included a mix of cable, satellite, telco and former pay TV subscribers. All respondents had high speed Internet connections and had in the last month watched at least one full length TV show or movie from the Internet on their TV set.