More and more Americans are watching television exclusively online and ditching their cable or satellite service. One-quarter of families have tuned in online, and 25% of those viewers have watched a full-length show on a computer—a 67% jump just since 2007. “The idea that you come home and your entertainment choices are dictated on what some entertainment channel decides is not for me,” a tech-savvy early adapter tells the Los Angeles Times.
The obvious analogy is the iPod, says an industry expert. Consumers who no longer buy a whole album just to get one single embrace the option of having hundreds of shows literally at their fingertips. "When Apple added iTunes as a music procurement and discovery service, then it really took off," says an analyst with a trade group. "Finally, this kind of sensibility is coming to the king category of consumer electronics—television."