NEW YORK: Once upon a time  millions of households across the USA sat down to watch the same networked television shows interspersed with the same commercials.

Those days are said to be numbered as media consumption diversifies and advertising becomes increasingly targeted.

And this pace of change towards more-individualized experiences of TV is quickening, according to a new study by Forrester Research.

Personal TV: The Reinvention Of Television claims the medium is poised to follow the lead of the web, with most content delivered on demand and advertising targeted by location and behavior.

The report's author, David Graves, says TV will benefit from the changes, keeping it at the top of the advertising heap and allowing marketers to reach mass audiences in targeted way.

Leading this shift will be cable companies which gather information on their subscribers' viewing behaviour via their set-top boxes.

Adds Graves: "The players here are the people who own the popular programs and then the distributors who have digital systems capable of serving programs into set top boxes."

Forrester predicts targeting and on-demand programming systems will be up and running in 2010, to be followed by an industry-wide shift between 2012 and 2018.

Jumping on to this bandwagon are web giants like Google, which is placing ads through satellite TV provider Dish Network, and Microsoft, which is planning to build an ad network.

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff