Studies: YouTube is the biggest online platform for linear TV, and cable beats broadcast

Separate studies reveal that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)-owned YouTube is the primary platform for viewing traditional television content online. And when they turn to YouTube to find TV content, viewers prefer cable network programming over broadcast shows by a wide margin.

About 38 percent of the 2,400 U.S. consumers polled by Frank N. Magid Associates in June said they visit YouTube to watch TV shows, vs. 33 percent for Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), 17 percent for Hulu and 14 percent for Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Prime Instant Video. 

As Variety's Todd Spangler notes, YouTube does offer transactional purchases of current and archival TV shows, but the selection doesn't match the flora and fauna offered by subscription video-on-demand services. The "riddle" as to why YouTube is listed in the Magid survey as being a more popular TV destination, Spangler writes, "may boil down to the fact that ordinary consumers may have an expansive idea of what a 'TV show' is--encompassing everything from, say, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live clips to made-for-digital series like Video Game High School."

Indeed, viewing clips of cable network programs on YouTube is a popular activity.

Meanwhile, in terms of popular YouTube channels operated by linear TV networks, the realm is dominated by cable programmers, according to analytics firm OpenSlate.

Driven by mega-popular daily clips spun out of The Daily Show and Colbert Report, Viacom's Comedy Central is No. 1 with a bullet, scoring over 33 million monthly views. Cable networks National Geographic, Adult Swim and ESPN rank just behind Comedy Central.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal story
- read this CNET story
- read this Variety story

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