Study: For first time, a significant number of people watch prime-time shows online, not on TV

Now these are some sexy — and significant — numbers:

According to a survey released today by Integrated Media Measurement Inc., more than 20 percent of people studied watch some amount of prime-time, episodic programming online.

Within that group of online viewers, 50 percent are watching programs as they become available and are starting to use the computer as a substitute for a television.

The other 50 percent use the Web to watch programming they’ve missed or to re-watch episodes they have already seen.

All of which means . . .

“This is the first study to show there are a significant amount of people watching prime-time shows online who are not watching some portion of those shows on TV,” Amanda Welsh, co-founder and senior VP of research for IMMI, said in a prepared statement. (PDF via paidContent; see also Advertising Age)

“Everyone’s been talking about the Internet becoming a substitute for TV; however, this is the first single-source passive data to show that the migration from one platform to another is actually occurring — and it’s happening fast.”

IMMI collected its information by conducting random samples of 3,000 teens and adults in six markets — New York, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston. Participants were given a cellphone that runs proprietary software that tracks their media consumption.

Characteristics of the online TV audience are beginning to emerge. According to IMMI data, the audience skews female (55 percent), is mostly between the ages of 25 to 54 (58.4 percent), are primarily Caucasian (76.8 percent), are more affluent than live network prime-time viewers, and a majority (56.8 percent) have completed four or more years of college.

IMMI’s conclusion: “The migration of consumption from one platform to another is only a matter of time.”

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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