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New Internet TV Research Finds the PC has become the 2nd TV

27th March, London: New research published today reveals that as online video usage goes mainstream, the PC has become the second TV in many homes. Men in particular are using internet video as a way of indulging their interests and escaping into a ‘virtual shed’.

‘The middle class study has been reborn as a US style ‘den’ where viewers displaced by a partner or child are escaping to indulge their personal interests. Instead of watching soaps under sufferance they are seeking out what they really want to watch online.’ said Matthew Halfin who led the study for co-author Simply.

The research was undertaken by Simply and media boutique Work Research who jointly devised the methodology for an in-depth qualitative study capable of understanding exactly how people think about, find and use the host of new online video services.

Commenting on the research, Justin Gibbons Director of Work Research said, ‘This is the first serious attempt to unpick the complexities of the new online video ecology and explode the misconception that all that’s on offer is homemade comedy and soap catch ups.’

Key FIndings

- The PC is taking over as the ‘second TV’ in the home

- Online video viewers are thoroughly mainstream with no evidence of users being overly ‘techie’ or interested in very niche interests

- There is more to online video than comedy snippets and TV catch up. Three distinct categories of online content emerging which have been characterised: Snippets, Boutique and Catch-Up. Each is being viewed in a different way.

- There is an ‘Apex of Attention’ where needs based viewing meets relevant advertising.

- Viewers accept advertising in exchange for ‘free’ content as in traditional TV

Snippets are short, quick to watch and whilst focused on the screen, people are often also multi-tasking – talking on an internet phone or emailing links to friends for example. (YouTube)

Boutique is about task-based viewing where content is instructional or helps with information gathering around keen interests. People who are in this mode have high attention levels because of their interest in the subject matter (Baby Channel,

Catch-up online is longer form in broadcast programme lengths and tends to be viewed in a more relaxed mode. This activity is really where the computer takes on the role of the second TV. (4oD, BBC iPlayer)

The Advertising Contract

The research also set out to examine viewer reactions to video advertising. Video advertising in the Boutique and Catch-up categories –mainly pre and mid roll- faired well as most viewers have a high perceived value of the content and appreciate that free content is too good to be true. Some even reported positive experiences when the advertising is linked and relevant to their boutique viewing –a ‘pre-roll’ ad about golf equipment preceding footage of a golf tournament was praised for reflecting the audiences’ interests. In most cases the adverts are short and perceived as unavoidable.

With Catch-up viewing the commercial contract works more like traditional TV. When ad content is short it is generally accepted because of its familiar placing. Success is all about relevance and seamlessness.

Attitudes to advertising around amateur content were particularly ambivalent, with some questioning the appropriateness of it at all.

Categorising Online Video Content


• Short form; from 5 seconds to 5 minutes
• Amateur content
• Social; shared, forwarded, watched with friends
• Mindset is experimentation, discovery, entertainment
• Anytime media – work, home, mobile


• Mini videos; from 2 to 5 minutes
• Independent professional content
• Privately consumed; cult, niche, obscure, watched in private
• Mindset is task based
• Evenings, weekends in home


• Longer form; from 5 minutes to feature length
• Professional/owned content
• PC becomes 2nd TV; private, comfortable, relaxed
• Needset is functional/convenient
• Peak time in home

The full research findings including extracts from the interviews and video diaries are available from 27th March 2008 at


Notes to Editors:


Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted as the basis for the research among a group of people recruited in London and Manchester. In preparation, the group was asked to complete various tasks online and keep a video diary of their viewing activity.

The participants ranged in age from 18 to 40 years old and were from a variety of backgrounds. There was no social grade filter – the only stipulation was that they had a computer with broadband access at home, and were regular users of online video services.

There were twice as many women as men in the sample. A number of typologies emerged from the research: Professional men in their 30s who are co-habiting; mums with children at home and a ‘digital generation’ of men and women under 25. Notably, none were unusually technology-savvy ‘geeks’ nor were they fans of highly niche programming, such as science fiction.

The Authors

Justin Gibbons, Founder, Work Research
Tel: +44 (0)207 436 1664

Matthew Halfin, Head of Business Development, Simply Media
Tel: +44 (0)207 608 8661

About Simply Media

Simply is an Internet video specialist with a portfolio of genre-based channels catering to sports and lifestyle interests. The company has in-house expertise across the entire value chain - producing and licensing video content, selling advertising and providing technical and creative services. Clients for these services include Yahoo!, Boots, Borders, Huggies and iVillage (NBC).

In addition to its Internet TV assets Simply owns a distribution network spanning 5 broadcast channels on Sky, and 3,000 screens in hair salons, garden centres, post offices and gyms.

Simply’s channels include:

About Work

Work has been researching advertising and media for over ten years and during that time has developed a set of tools and techniques that cover the whole communications spectrum.

Founder Justin Gibbons spent six years at PHD Media, most enjoyably as Director of the Strategic Services department. During his time there he pioneered the use of qualitative research in media and conducted the world’s first neuro-scientific experiment into communications effects.

He has won Marketing and Media Week awards for his research and is a regular speaker at conferences including the Edinburgh TV Festival, BAFTA, Channel 4, and recently the Norwegian Advertising Association.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Simply Media TV in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Media & Marketing, for more information visit