Sponsors And TV Shows Get Lift From Online Viewership

Consumers who watch TV shows on network Web sites tend to have a high opinion of the sponsoring brands and a stronger tie with the program than those who watch on TV alone.

So sponsorship of the broadband versions of shows such as ABC.com's "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy" is paying off for both the networks and advertisers such as Verizon and Tropicana, a new study from Knowledge Networks suggests.

In fact, nearly 49% of TV network Web site viewers say that sponsorship of the streaming or download of an episode would increase their consideration of the sponsoring brand, according to the study, titled "How People Use TV's Web Connections."

Users of streaming or downloaded network video also are significantly more likely than Internet users overall (30% versus 22%) to buy from companies that advertise on their favorite programs, the study found.

"We found that, for the most part, features on network and program Web sites are building equity with program viewers, for both the TV networks and their advertisers," said David Tice, vice president, custom research at Knowledge Networks/SRI and director of The Home Technology Monitor. "There is much room to grow this crossover TV-Web audience."

In addition to the boost for marketers, the report found that TV networks also derive benefits from their sponsorships.

Some 78% of viewers say that being able to watch episodes online increases their involvement with a program.

A full 25% of viewers of streaming or downloaded network TV videos say they are watching a regular TV program more often because of what they have watched on Internet video.

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