Monday, August 01, 2005

More People Turn to the Web to Watch TV

More People Turn to the Web to Watch TV
New York Times
Published: August 1, 2005

For two decades, media company executives and advertisers have been talking about creating fully interactive television that would allow viewers to watch exactly what they want, when they want it.

Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
Alisha Davis anchors MTV's afternoon Web newscasts, which can run anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.

It looks like that future may well be by way of the computer, as big media and Internet companies develop new Web-based video programming and advertising that is truly under the command of the viewer. As Americans grow more comfortable watching programs online, Internet programming is beginning to combine the interactivity and immediacy of the Web with the alluring engagement of television.

The Nickelodeon cable network, for example, recently created TurboNick, a free Internet service that offers 24-hour access to popular programs like SpongeBob SquarePants and Jimmy Neutron. It offers some original programs, too, because the young audience of Nickelodeon, which is owned by Viacom, is increasingly spending time in front of computers.

CBS News, which has no cable network and is also owned by Viacom, uses the Internet to offer video news updates and reports that do not fit in the 30-minute time slot of "CBS Evening News."

And for America Online, offering a wide array of free video programming - from coverage of the recent Live 8 concerts to programs hosted by business gurus like Stephen R. Covey and Tom Peters - is a way to attract an audience to its new Internet portal at AOL, a unit of Time Warner, is also producing with the Warner Music Group an Internet-based reality program called "The Biz." It will seek to find the next music mogul, according to people involved with the program.

For all of them, and many more media and Internet companies, investing in new Internet video programming is a way to cash in on the demands of advertisers who want to put their commercials on computer screens, where new viewers are watching. And on many Web sites, viewers can't skip the video commercials, the way they can when using TiVo and other video recorders....