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Neilson: TV Watching On Par With Online Access
March 21st, 2010

The number of US TV watchers that also cruise the internet and USENET is up more than 35 percent from a year ago, according to a new report released Monday. The advertising firm Nielsen Co. said Monday that people who multitask this way spent an average of three and a half hours doing so in December. That’s up sharply from the two hours, 29 minutes that Nielsen reported only six months earlier.

The study reported by media newsgroups says  the number of Americans who “multitask” by watching TV and using the Internet continues to grow by reaching three and a half hours per month in the most recent quarter, with nearly 60% of viewers now using the Internet once a month while also watching TV.

Indeed more consumers watched TV while simultaneously surfing the Web in December ’09 , but these figures shouldn’t really come as a surprise if you take in mind the upward trend in simultaneous media consumption. People did admit to using the Internet around 34% of the time that they were watching television – 14% more than a year ago. These numbers don’t count those who are watching TV on the Internet itself or using to utilize both for the same purpose.  This is some decent news for the TV industry, since the fear is that Internet time is eating into boob tube viewing. Overall, TV viewing is up 1%, year over year, according to the report.

The original fear was that the internet, mobile video, and entertainment would slowly draw viewers away from the TV. However, TV viewership expanded simultaneously with internet usage.

“The rise in simultaneous use of the web and TV gives the viewer a unique on-screen and off-screen relationship with TV programming,” said Nielsen Company media product leader Matt O’Grady. “The initial fear was that Internet and mobile video and entertainment would slowly cannibalize traditional TV viewing, but the steady trend of increased TV viewership alongside expanded simultaneous usage argues something quite different.”

Here are the top 5 website according to Neilson that people are accessing while online:

1. Google
2. Yahoo
3. Facebook
4. MSN or Microsoft Bing
5. YouTube.

Online video consumption is up 16 percent year over year, with close to half (44 percent) of all online video being consumed at the workplace. “Online video is used essentially like DVR and not typically a replacement for watching TV,” notes Nielsen’s semi-annual Three Screen Report, which analyzes TV, internet and mobile video usage. Approximately 44 percent of all online video viewing is happening in the workplace, according to Nielsen, a stat that probably won’t be too surprising for those who follow events like March Madness on Demand, which has been made available live online by CBS Sports.

The use and access to USENET had not been measured in this survey; rather it’s combined with the total amount of time they spend online. With such a great increase in usage, and the ties with other mediums with Usenet, it’s considered that it had a certain impact on the final numbers.

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Netflix Leads Newsgroup Inquiry on Comcast-NBC Merger
February 8th, 2010

Netflix, the Web’s hottest video service, is voicing the worry that many media related newsgroups have that bandwidth providers could abuse their position as the gatekeepers of Internet access and purposely damage competing Web-video distributors.

With a strong voice coming from USENET newsgroups, Netflix has echoed the cause and is asking the FCC to look a little closer at its proposed net neutrality rules. They warn of a major loophole that would allow Comcast (especially if its NBCU merger is approved and other major cable and satellite companies) a major advantage in giving their own content a delivery edge.

Netflix’s comments to the FCC, first reported by The Washington Post on Monday, is a signal that the company sees a showdown coming with Comcast, Time Warner, and other broadband providers over the distribution of online video. According to the FCC filing:

“Netflix believes that the codification of the existing network neutrality principles, together with the addition of nondiscrimination and transparency, create an effective framework for preserving an open Internet. These rules will allow all parts of the industry — network operators, consumer electronics manufacturers, and edge providers of content, applications, and services — to continue to innovate at a rapid pace, unburdened by the unnecessary intervention of network operators or government regulators.”

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts responded in House and Senate hearings last week that the company has had no incentive to withhold NBC content from competitors. But did not speak specifically about how content would be offered and if (as one competing ISP said) the company would make NBC shows and movies available at such steep prices and conditions that it would be difficult for competitors to lease rights to the content.

Cable companies are seeing services like Netflix, which often are delivered “over-the-top” on devices like Sony’s PS3 and other gaming consoles, on Blu-ray players and, increasingly, on Internet-connected televisions, as a major threat. The recent merger between Comcast and NBC may seem imminent, but getting the ground rules in place for what would be allowed by these two media goliaths could severely impact the content available online in general. USENET newsgroup posts about the matter tend to genuinely disapprove about the move and believe that due to the history of both companies, scrutiny on the details need to be addressed.

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