Internet TV leads to more options, not viewing time

New York, Oct 22 (IANS) The option of watching television online may make the experience more pleasurable, but it will not influence the amount of time a person spends viewing TV, says a new study.

“Some media reports predict that because people now have access to watch anything they want, anytime they want, they will spend more time watching TV,” said one of the study’s authors Stan Liebowitz, professor at Naveen Jindal School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas in the US.

Because data of current trends in Internet TV viewing won’t be available for another 10 to 15 years, the researchers prognosticated what is going to happen based on what had happened in the past, the study said.

So the researchers examined television consumption during the switch from broadcast TV to cable TV.

They found that viewing time was not essentially linked to increase in the variety of available TV shows.

Liebowitz said consumers have only 24 hours in a day, so giving them more variety does not mean they are going to spend more time watching television.

Because the variety of programmes does not impact the amount of television consumption, the researchers determined that on-demand internet streaming media companies should not expect to make additional revenues through increased viewing.

Liebowitz said they should focus on subscription revenue — as Netflix has — rather than advertising revenue — as Hulu initially did.

The researchers, however, said that ultimately, the extra choice of watching TV online is positive for viewers.

“Consumers are going to be better off as the option to watch TV via the Internet grows,” Liebowitz said.

“If you have more choices, you are going to be able to find a program that fits what you feel like watching,” Liebowitz noted.

The findings appeared in the Journal of Cultural Economics.

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