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Online video boom starting to affect TV viewing: BBC Study

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MUMBAI: People are starting to watch less TV as the online video boom grows, suggests a BBC News survey.

Around 43 per cent of UK people who watch video from the internet or on a mobile device at least once a week said that they watched less normal TV as a result.

Online and mobile viewing is rising - three quarters of users said they now watched more than they did a year ago. The BBC News Website is running a series of special features looking at the future of TV.

The website's survey also suggests that online video viewers are still in the minority - just nine per cent said that they did so regularly.

Another 13 per cent said they watched occasionally, while a further 10 per cent said they expected to start in the coming year.

But two-thirds of the population said they did not watch online and could not envisage starting in the next 12 months.

In the survey, one in five people who watched online or mobile video at least once a week said they watched a lot less TV as a result.

Another 23 per cent said that they watched a bit less, while just over half said their TV viewing was unchanged. Three per cent said that online video inspired them to watch more TV.

Online and mobile video is far more popular among the young, with 28 per cent of those aged 16 to 24 saying they watched more than once each week.

An average of 10 per cent aged 25 to 44 were net video regulars, with that figure falling to just 4% of over-45s.

Earlier this year, media regulator Ofcom said that the number of 16 to 24-year-olds watching TV in an average day had dropped 2.9% between 2003 and 2005.

Comedian Ricky Gervais, whose audio and video podcasts have become hits on the web, said amateur video would never replace TV - but broadcasters would harness the power of the internet.

"You can't knock up an episode of The Sopranos or 24 on a little handheld digital camera," he told the BBC News website.

"I don't think you'll ever be able to sidestep TV or DVD. But TV companies will embrace it."

The choice offered by new platforms was "exciting", he said, and any future developments depended on how many people started using the technology.

"I'm sure when the BBC first launched, they were going: 'Ah, not many people have got tellies. Who's watching this?' So it's good to get your act together. And then people catch up with the know-how and the means to watch it."

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