On Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, TV trumps movies

When viewers sit down to watch a long program online, they overwhelmingly choose a new or old TV show rather than a movie, according to research group GfK. The users of online video sites such as Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Amazon Prime (Nasdaq: AMZN) surveyed by GfK said they typically dial up TV programs.

Episodic shows such as "Star Trek," "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" were found to be the most popular programs among the survey's respondents. "We see that, contrary to broadcast TV's 'mass' audience model, streaming services generate episodic, niche viewing," said David Tice, senior vice president at GfK.

That could be good news for TV production companies and networks seeking to tap online video distributors as a growing affiliate revenue stream. The more viewers demand TV shows online, the more distributors may be willing to pay to license it.

Still, while TV shows generate a large portion of online viewing, Netflix has said it plans to invest in other forms of programming such as stand up comedy and original documentary films. Its CEO Reed Hastings told investors this week that the company's investments in original programming could expand into those categories.

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