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Television’s shift to the Internet: How online video websites are gaining momentum between viewers and advertisers alike.



April 2009

How online video websites are gaining momentum between viewers and advertisers alike.

It’s not your parents television set anymore!


More and more television content is becoming easily accessible to viewers through the web. With networks putting popular content on their web sites, as well as additional sites and programs such as Hulu, ABC, iTunes, and AppleTV, people are turning to their computer screens in addition to their television sets to enjoy their favorite shows.      While this new business model is certainly a step in the right direction that adapts to the fast-paced lifestyle of the 21st century, there are a few glitches that still need adjustment. There is a huge concern over whether or not networks are making nearly enough money off of advertisements shown on shows accessible through the web. With the total number of videos watched online up 41% from a year ago, according to reports from the internet measurement firm ComScore, networks need to make sure they are not allowing viewers to completely alienate their television sets. Overall, however, this new

platform is taking technology to another level. While some of the networks are major contributors to this online shift, cable companies should be careful not to make all of their content available on the web, or they will have to start charging subscription fees to stay in business, as customers might start to cancel their monthly cable subscriptions. (Fritz)

Hulu Hulu is an online video service co-owned by NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners. The website offers TV

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shows, movies, and video clips at The company is all for free for anyone in the United States.   Founded in 2007, Hulu made it their mission to assist people in finding and enjoying premium video content whenever and wherever they wanted it. (Hulu) Beyond their own website, Hulu videos are accessible through AOL, Comca st, MSN, MySpace, Yahoo!, as well as personal blogs, and fan sites.   The content brings together a wide selection of videos from over 130 content providers. (Hulu)  FOX, NBC Universal, MGM, and Warner Bros, are just a few that provide the site with more than 1,000 current primetime TV hits. Hulu’s user experience is focused on providing the browser with quality and convenience.   The system is easy to use and simple to

share. The website does not require the viewer to download any software.  All that is needed to view the high quality videos is Flash 9.0 and an Internet connection. (Hulu) From here the user is able to share fulllength episodes or short video clips via e-mail, posting to a Web site, or on their social networking page. Due to these commitments Hulu has done well since their public access debut March 12, 2008.  Hulu has grown from a small video streaming company to now streaming around 308 million videos a month. (Fritz) Another reason why the site is successful is because it is free and videos on the site contain fewer ads than on cable TV.   With the acceleration of Hulu’s popularity it could cause the shift of advertising dollars to online formatting from broadcast and cable TV.   In 2007, Forrester Research estimated that marketers would spend $471 million

Hulu in 1, 2, 3 Step One: Type in a keyword of what you are looking for and a list of shows will appear. Step Two: Click on the show you wish to view and a full viewing screen will appear. Step Three: When your show is over you can send the video to friends through social networking sites.

Watch your favorites. Anytime. For free.

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Maecenas Quis Dolor

Todd Dagres, principal of Boston-based Spark Capital is invested in a competitor of Hulu and believes that television is dying out. “Eyeballs are shifting away from TV not because people want to watch TV on their computers, but because they don’t want to watch TV.” (Learmonth)       To confirm these statements, The Council for Research Excellence, has executed a $3.5 million dollar project titled “Video Consumer Mapping Study.” The project does just as it says, the initiative is described as, the largest and most significant observational study of media activity ever undertaken.  (Atkinson) on online video advertising, with about that amount transferred directly from broadcast and TV ad budgets. (Learmonth) While cable television might be dwindling in viewership, advertisers are shifting their medium to a more focused internet-based version rather than losing money on cable ads.  Advertisements on Hulu run for two minutes per every half-hour of content and are unskippable.   With broadcast TV there is no guarantee that advertisments are being watched, on the Internet there is no doubt that the viewer has to watch them. (Learmonth)


         The goal of this research funded in part by Nielsen Media Research, is to find out what really is going on in the consumption of video and television.  The research includes what age groups do the most media multi-tasking and if younger “Eyeballs viewers are in fact shifting away from traditional TV. (Atkinson)

are shifting away from TV...”

         Steve Sternberg, the executive Vice President of Magna, stated that, “multitasking is not a young person’s phenomena.” The results from this information will help marketers ask the right questions about their fears of the rise of DVR and online television. (Atkinson)






$1.99 per show



No advertisments

NBC TV, clips, some Movies...

ABC television shows only

TV, Movies, Music, PodCasts, Photos

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Network Video Sites Perhaps the most well known way to enjoy television content through the Internet is simply by visiting the Web sites of major television networks. While only a percentage of viewers may be informed of sites such as Hulu, a l m o s t everyone who watches TV is aware that the stations they tune in to have their own web sites with a surplus of video content, including full episodes of popular shows.

allows viewers to chose when they view their content. They no longer have to stop what they are doing and set aside a time to watch new episodes of their favorite programs. They too run short ads 2 to 3 times during a show, forcing the advertisements upon the viewer but for a much more tolerable period than basic television. Like Hulu, advertisers should be much more c o n fi d e n t that their ads are b e i n g viewed, since they are not able to be skipped, a n d therefore will hopefully be more inclined to buy slots from the networks, allowing the business model to be successful despite little to no subscription fees.

Major TV networks such as ABC and NBC began putting episodes of popular shows such as “Lost”, “Desperate Housewives”, and “The Office” online for free around April of 2006. What started off as a two-month trial has now turned into a major model for the While advertisers should be television industry that has fighting to get sots on the internetcontributed greatly to the online shift. based airings of shows, some are questioning the networks ability to make nearly as much through “It’s really an opportunity for advertising as they do us to learn about a different model,” through traditional Disney-ABC television group television methods. president Anne Sweeney shares. Part of the problem “We should not allow the industry to comes from the fact have only one business model, and that when ABC first the trend of declining television l a u n c h e d their viewers must b e program, they allowed remedied.” (Reuters)  consumers to get used Similar to the idea of Hulu, to the low-volume ad iTunes, and other technologies such model. It is a model that as DVR and TiVo, online content goes hand in hand with the fast-paced

lifestyle of the 21st century, as people who are sitting in front of their computers are less likely to be patient when it comes to load time or in this case, advertisements. Although advertising rates per viewer are higher on the Internet than on broadcast TV, the lower volume of ads makes it nearly impossible for online ad revenues to catch up to that of standard television. Since viewership through traditional TV has not yet dwindled, this has not yet posed a serious issue. But with more and more people becoming familiarized with the internet revolution of television, the number of ads shows every thirty minutes may have to change in order to keep the networks from losing too much money and going out of business. While this could pose a serious threat to the loyalty of the viewers, it is something that people may just have to get used to if they went to enjoy premium television content on the web. (Fritz)      iTunes Apple’s iTunes, one of the most popular digital media player applications, has brought a challenge to cable television and DVD sales. iTunes library provides hundreds of movies and television shows. Viewers are able to download these programs directly on their laptops and iPods quickly and at a reasonable cost. iTunes offers programs that aren’t easily found on cable or in video rental stores. With the click of a button one can download anything from vintage films to movies made by independent filmmakers to TV shows and

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WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE TO USE? documentaries from all over the world. Not only has iTunes increased variety in television and movie viewing, but it has made watching these programs more portable then ever.       Many people believe that Apple will lead to the demise of cable television. They predict that people will no longer be inclined to pay a cable company when they can get what the company offers and more straight from their laptops. Blogger Bill St. Arnaud comments, “the speed of cable TV’s demise will depend on how fast Apple can get films and TV shows from all over the world on iTunes.” (Macenstein) The recent launch of the product’s second version has already led to a 17% slump in Blockbuster's share price. (Walmsley) iTunes users can rent movies for a similar price that they could at a video rental store. Some may wonder why you would pay $1.99 to watch a television show on iTunes when they could watch it for free when it airs on broadcast TV.   Many people, especially college students and busy 20-somethings find that this “ondemand” style viewing fits their lifestyle perfectly. They don’t have the kind of regular schedules conducive to watching their favorite show at the same time every week.            Recently, the introduction of AppleTV has revolutionized “ondemand” viewing and even further contributed to the downfall of cable.

Alex Baker

AppleTV, which began shipping in March of 2007, is essentially a tiny white box that wirelessly transmits the shows and movies you've downloaded from your computer to your TV iTunes screen. You can also “on-demand” access your entire viewing fits 20iTunes library somethings including your music, movies, lifestyles podcasts and photos. perfectly comfort that comes from AppleTV also allows sitting on the couch in front of direct access to YouTube. the television set, others are "This is the biggest realignment of the distribution of entertainment in becoming more and more reliant on history," says Colin Dixon. "I don't the many possibilities that are think that traditional broadcast – available for free on the internet. cable and satellite – are going away In addition to the many legal tomorrow, but they must change to options discussed throughout this maintain market share." (Gerson) Many analysts believe that paper, many other underground and consumers eventually will shy away illegal sites provide full-length from DVD’s and turn to the Web and episodes available to those who their computers for movies much like missed out on the broadcast debut of they have for music. Online music their favorite shows. The legal services have had a major impact on websites we have discussed are falling CD sales, which may be an aware of these other possibilities, and indication of things to come in movie are doing everything they can to stay and television industry. (TECHWEB) on top of their game and provide the best quality video for the best price. Networks and cable companies need            The shift of focus from the to account for the obvious shift that television sets to computer screens is stands before them. The shift to certainly one that could potentially online video is one that is inevitable, change the industry. Despite the and cable companies as well as the potentially advertising issues, which networks need to do everything they can easily be combated despite can to accommodate for these upsetting consumers, the changes and provide content on the convenience as well as low cost web that is high quality and easily makes it the optimum choice for accessible to viewers. television viewing for the majority of viewers. While many are used to the

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Andrew Kay

Television on the Internet  
Television on the Internet  

Alex Baker Taylor Hass Andrew Kay