Web video not yet a TV alternative

A new study says Internet video is years away from drawing a major audience, while television viewership continues to grow. Reuters reports this prediction from the consulting firm Bain & Co: U.S. viewers on average will spend nearly two more hours per week watching television by 2012, while Internet use outside the workplace is expected to increase by less than half an hour per week.

The data could be sobering to TV networks and Web media companies, which are investing heavily in Internet video sites and testing ways to make money off them through advertising. David Sanderson, head of Bain’s global media practice, said the prospect for Internet video to become a viable alternative to the broadcast, cable or satellite signals into viewer’s homes could take five years or more to materialize.

Sanderson says Web technology “isn’t quite there” for video, while TV users have more and more choices for video-on-demand and the ability to watch other programs when they want to, thanks to digital video recorders. While the Internet should become a more robust outlet for video in the future, people today are mostly using it to watch clips of shows they missed on TV, Sanderson said.

Online video may not be a TV alternative yet, but it’s definitely gone mainstream. According to new data from ComScore, 75 percent of Internet users watched a video online in September 2007. Average number of videos consumed in the month: 68 (about 2 per day). Thanks to OnSquared for the summary.