Percentage Who Have Downloaded TV Shows Doubles, Yet Downloading TV Remains Early Adopter Activity

An Estimated 10 million Americans Have Downloaded A TV Show From The Internet

Recent Findings From The MOTION Digital Video Study Reveal Non-Traditional Video Consumption Poised For Growth

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New York, NY — Amid growing interest in user-generated video clips and increased experimentation with online movie distribution by the motion picture industry, a new study by global market research firm Ipsos indicates that an estimated 10 million Americans aged 12 and over have downloaded television shows from the Internet; seven million in the past 30 days.

New findings for MOTION—the company’s biannual study of digital video behaviors—reveal that younger Americans are driving growth in many digital video activities, including TV show downloading. Ten percent of young adults aged 18 to 34 (14% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 7% of 25- to 34-year-olds) have downloaded television programs from the Internet and seven percent have done so in the past month—nearly double the rate of television downloading overall.

This marks a significant increase in video downloads over the summer of 2005, when only two percent of Americans overall and five percent of 18- to 34-year-olds had ever downloaded video. Despite these gains, however, downloading larger video files such as full-length TV shows and movies remain firmly entrenched as an early adopter behavior online; it is less commonplace among the mainstream consumer traditional video channels currently serve.

Recent MOTION research also revealed some interesting diagnostic digital video behavior trends:

  • Eighteen percent of Americans aged 12 and older have watched music videos streamed online (~41 million) and as many as 32 million have downloaded video games to their PCs (14%).
  • Despite growing experimentation on behalf of the motion picture industry in distributing movies online, downloading full-length motion pictures is still a niche activity (just 3% of Americans have ever done this).
  • Males continue to lead females in most digital video technology ownership and related behaviors, including downloading television.
  • Overall, 27% of portable MP3 players have the ability to play video, a number that has been steadily increasing over the past year; 5% of MP3 player owners have paid to download television programs from the Internet versus only 1% of those who do not own MP3 players.
  • Other activities are becoming more popular as well: one in ten Americans aged 12 and older has downloaded music videos (10%) and a similar proportion has downloaded movie trailers (9%).

“These findings underscore what many of us have guessed to be the case; namely, that the distribution of digital entertainment content—not just digital music—is a growing channel of entertainment consumption with exciting possibilities,” said Todd Board, Senior Vice President of the Ipsos Insight Technology & Communications practice and author of the study. “As we have witnessed with music, no single consumption method will necessarily dominate, while traditional media will continue to prosper for the foreseeable future. However, digital entertainment usage will continue to evolve based on shifting consumer choices and an increasing number of options.”

“Today, many consumers utilize the digital channel to access more ‘disposable’ video: content that is brief in nature and takes up little bandwidth, so it’s very easily consumed,” added Board. “This emerging genre of video is being driven by its growing availability on sites such as YouTube and MySpace, but also perpetuated by the ‘two-foot’ user interface of the PC, which is less than ideal for the larger, more involved genres such as the full-length movies dominant on the ‘ten-foot’ interface in consumers’ living rooms.”

Concluded Board, “Savvy product developers and marketers will need to cultivate a forward-looking view of the segments likely to emerge around unmet and under-met needs for video consumption. For digital music, the primary catalyst was the music enthusiast seeking individual song downloads that offered portability and ownership. For digital video, there are inherently more potential catalysts, including music videos, movie trailers, and increasingly, TV shows with intense audience involvement. Because of this variety in the drivers of digital video appeal, it’s critical to understand where digital entertainment aficionados have similar usage expectations for video as they currently have for music, and where they don’t.”

Data on music downloading behaviors was gathered from MOTION, a new biannual shared-cost program by Ipsos Insight tracking trends and shifts in traditional video entertainment viewing attitudes and behaviors among Americans aged 12 and older.

Data for general population statistics included with this release were collected between June 23 and July 4, 2006, via a nationally representative U.S. sample of 1,143 respondents aged 12 and over. With a total sample size of 1,143, one can say with 95% certainty that the results are accurate to within +/- 2.90%.

To learn more about the methodology of MOTION, please visit:

For more information, please contact:
Adam Wright
Senior Research Manager
Ipsos Insight

Media should visit the Technology & Communications practice Press Center for more background information and press kit material.

About Ipsos Insight
Ipsos Insight is a marketing research consultancy that provides solutions to Fortune 500 companies in the areas of market assessment, brand management, innovation, and new product development. Our industry experts combine the discipline of marketing with the science of marketing research to offer expert consultation and strategic advice that builds powerful brands.

Our client service teams specialize in consumer products, technology, communications, health, pharmaceuticals, financial services, entertainment, retail, foodservice, agrifood, energy, utilities, and lottery and gaming. To learn more, please visit

About Ipsos
Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals. Ipsos helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world.

Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting. Ipsos has a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies. The company was founded in 1975 and has been publicly traded since 1999. In 2005, Ipsos generated global revenues of €717.8 million ($853.8 million U.S.).

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Percentage Who Have Downloaded TV Shows Doubles, Yet Downloading TV Remains Early Adopter Activity


Elen Alexov
Director, Marketing Services,
North America