The Internet Didn't Kill the TV Show

Economist argues online viewers more likely to tune in the old fashioned way
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2007 4:19 PM CST
In a file photo Jon Stewart, host of the Emmy-nominated show "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," arrives for the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With Viacom's lawsuit against YouTube, and widespread speculation that the dearth of material created by a long TV writers' strike will send more viewers online, there are still some economists who think Internet video could stimulate rather than stifle TV viewing. The key is not to think of the online/on-air conflict as a zero sum game, Melissa Lafsky writes on the Freakonomics blog at the New York Times.

"Watching an episode on the web can stimulate interest in watching other episodes of the same show on television," Lafsky quotes Joel Waldfogel writing, based on his interviews with a sample of 287 university students. His findings—that online viewers see the web as a supplement to broadcast television—might shatter Viacom's case: if YouTube isn't turning viewers off, than the TV giant's case might lack standing.