A fifth of U.S. television viewers are putting down their remote controls and clicking on a mouse instead to watch primetime programs online -- particularly professional women, according to a new survey.
It showed that 50 percent of people viewing TV on the Web are watching programs as they become available and "appear to be beginning to use the computer as a substitute for the television set," Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI), which conducted the poll, said.
The other half are using the Internet to watch programs they have missed, or to re-watch segments or episodes they have already seen, IMMI, a company which links media exposure to consumer action, added.
"This is the first study to show there are a significant amount of people watching primetime shows online who are not watching some portion of those shows on television," Amanda Welsh, head of research for IMMI, said in a statement.
The report showed that the largest group of online TV viewers are white, affluent, well educated, working women aged 25 to 44.
IMMI said women are busy with their work and personal lives and don't have time to be tied down to live television-viewing schedules. They may not have time to watch their shows live, so they may use the online episodes to fill in the shows that they missed live.
IMMI recruited 3,000 teens and adults in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston and Denver for the survey and gave them cell phones with special software that tracks their media viewing.