The last year has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people turning to the internet instead of or in addition to television. It has also seen a further fall in the viewing of traditional terrestrial television channels. An increasing number of users are also now accessing television, video or movie web sites and a new study suggests that up to a quarter of entertainment will be created or edited by consumers rather than media professionals.

The year saw many new businesses entering the space, hoping to capitalise on the growing consumer trend towards watching video online. According to Valerio Zingarelli, the recently appointed chief executive of one such company, Babelgum, “the intense competition can only lead to greater innovation and a substantial increase in service quality for viewers, and we’re certainly expecting more new entrants to arrive in 2008.”

“Whilst traditional television platforms such as cable and broadcast TV still serve a large audience, those viewers unwilling to wear the straight-jacket linear TV offerings put them in are seeking new ways of accessing content tailored to their specific taste, whether it be sport, news or entertainment.”

“Broadcasters worried about web television should realise internet TV is not trying to replace traditional TV, but is merely giving increasingly savvy viewers greater control and choice. It is this greater control, and choice, which will see internet TV take its place as a conventional platform alongside broadcast TV in 2008 and beyond.”

Babelgum joined Joost and a host of other broadband video platforms that entered the market in 2007 and is set for commercial launch in 2008.

The chief executive of Joost, formerly of Cisco, is dismissive of plans by broadcasters to offer their programmes online, saying he could record any show he wants and watch it on his personal video recorder.

Speaking at a conference in London, he also said he had no plans at present to deliver Joost to a television set. He suggested that “it’s not a huge priority” for the software platform, which claims four million downloads to date. He said that their target market of 18-34-year-olds prefers web surfing to watching television.

However, his former boss, John Chambers, the chief executive of Cisco, speaking at their global forum in San Jose, suggested that by 2011, between 15 to 20% of internet traffic will be video delivered to the television.

In the United Kingdom at least, traditional broadcasters have seen their share of television viewing slide even further. Channel 4 has seen its share of viewing fall by almost 12% over the year, while Five has fallen by nearly 10%. BBC One and Two are also down by 3%, while ITV dropped nearly 2%.

The declines represent no more than a percentage point in the share of each channel, but collectively the trend is clear. Viewing of other channels has increased correspondingly by nearly 9%, partly as result of more people having access to multichannel digital television.

Figures from Nielsen Online suggest that almost 21 million people in Britain visited a television, video or movie-related web site in September 2007, a 28% increase on the previous year.

Meanwhile research from Nokia predicts that in five years up to a quarter of the entertainment enjoyed by people will have been created, edited and shared within their social circle rather than being produced by traditional media companies.

Their study, entitled A Glimpse of the Next Episode, carried out by The Future Laboratory, surveyed over 9,000 consumers aged between 16-35.

“From our research we predict that up to a quarter of the entertainment being consumed in five years will be what we call ‘Circular’. The trends we are seeing show us that people will have a genuine desire not only to create and share their own content, but also to remix it, mash it up and pass it on within their peer groups — a form of collaborative social media,” said Mark Selby, vice president of multimedia at Nokia.