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Consumers Prefer Movie Rentals To Downloads By Wide Margin

Watching short clips is the rage on the Web, but when it comes to full-length movies, many consumers would rather stick with cable and satellite TV offerings and video rental stores, a market research firm said.

Only 5% of people who watch video on the Internet have rented or bought a digital movie download, ABI Research said Monday. Even when including films taken for free from peer-to-peer sites, movie downloads remain the least-watched genre of online video.

Short-form content, on the other hand, is watched by nearly 7 in 10 people who watch online video. "Older users in particular watch primarily news and sports, while younger users are watching more entertainment content, including viral media provided by sites such as YouTube," ABI research director Michael Wolf said in a statement.

The biggest reason for not downloading movies was satisfaction with existing cable and satellite TV services, as well as DVD rentals and purchases. Nearly half of the online consumers interviewed by ABI said they would never purchase a movie online for download, because they were happy with the status quo.

The biggest hurdle for download services is the fact that current movie providers continue to provide a "vastly superior," and often less expensive, product. "The industry needs to develop reasons and business models that increase overall consumer interest in Internet-delivered video, including allowing for easy transfer and better viewing on the large screen," Wolf said.

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