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TV and Online Video: Friends or Foes?

A new blow to the myth of cannibalization

NBC released data last week about both its online and TV Olympics viewership. Based on the numbers, online video increased the network's TV ratings and vice versa.

One-half of NBC Olympics online viewers said they used the Web to catch up with sports they had missed. Another 40% wanted to watch something again they had first seen on TV. Just 0.2% used only the Internet to follow the Olympics.

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"The Internet hardly cannibalizes; it actually fuels interest," said Alan Wurtzel, NBC's president of research, in a conference call with reporters.

eMarketer predicts online video ad spending in the US will reach $505 million this year and keep climbing through at least 2013. Over 50 million additional consumers will start viewing online video ads within the next five years.

Despite healthy online viewership, NBC focused almost exclusively on TV ad sales for this Olympics. The company said it took in $1.025 billion in advertising sales, with nearly all coming from traditional network TV ads. eMarketer estimates that NBC collected $5.75 million from online ads on the NBCOlympics.com site, making NBC's Internet efforts around 0.5% of its total advertising revenue take. [eMarketer]

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