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Survey: Online viewing will be cut by iTV

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Mike Robuck

In a twist on the cord-cutting debate, a survey sponsored by interactive TV vendor FourthWall Media found that linear TV will eat into online computer viewing.

There has long been speculation that Internet video content from over-the-top providers and competing TV Everywhere-type services would lead to cable customers "cutting the cord" to their linear TV subscriptions. While cord-cutting has happened to some degree, it hasn't led to the wholesale abandonment of cable TV services, which was recently reaffirmed by Nielsen.

On the contrary, FourthWall Media's national survey found that interactive applications such as local weather, personalized sports and stock tickers, and voting on shows such as "American Idol" will pull viewers away from their computers. 

"This survey reveals that TV watchers – men, women, young, old – from all across the country are excited about interactive television," said Ellen Dudar, FourthWall Media's chief product officer and co-founder. "Viewers spend vastly more leisure time in front of their televisions than their computer screens, and they want one-click engagement with their favorite programs, movies, and even commercials. Apps that deliver immersive experiences and increased convenience to satisfy this consumer appetite are the next killer apps."

Highlights of the FourthWall Media survey include:
•Nearly 90 percent of TV watchers are interested in using interactive television applications.
•Three times as many respondents would prefer to use their remote over another device to cast a vote on reality shows like "American Idol."
•More than 70 percent of respondents indicated that they would be more interested in watching commercials if they were interactive.
•Nearly one-third of respondents indicated they would spend less time on their computers if interactive television applications were available to them.

On April 28, Penn Schoen & Berland conducted 500 online interviews among TV watchers 13 to 65 years old for FourthWall Media's survey. 

FourthWall Media, formerly known as Biap, has worked with the Comcast Media Center, Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications on interactive EBIF TV applications.