EDINBURGH: The annual sigmoidoscopy that is the Edinburgh International Television Festival heard last week that the much-hyped advent of web-TV has done little to change Britain's  viewing habits. Or so reports Deloitte's technology, media and telecoms practice.

According to practice boss Jolyon Barker, only 4% of the UK population consider it "very important" to be able to receive TV via the internet. Whereas 47% still regard it as "not important to them at all".

Deloitte's findings run counter to the nightmares of some broadcast TV executives, whose necks are sprained from constant backward glances to see if the online bogeyman is coming up fast on the rails. 
Sixty-nine per cent of TV executives fear the exodus of advertising revenue from television to online – seeing it as the greatest threat to the industry.

While nearly half (47%) believe that by 2010, internet TV will be embraced by the majority of viewers – albeit for a minority of viewing.

Like most ephemera, web-TV appeals mainly to the young, with 25% of those in the 18-24 age group deeming the ability to watch internet TV as "important", versus just 8% of those aged 55-plus.

Opines Barker: "There are a number of factors preventing internet TV from becoming mass market and competing directly with broadcast. One is uncertainty over the business model, particularly around the viability of advertising."

The report predicts that the future of TV advertising could increasingly be tied to the internet. Or not, dependent on chaos theory or wind direction. 

According to Deloitte, the future ascendancy of web-TV depends on the ability of media agencies to accelerate the progression of the integrated multi-platform campaign from aspiration to reality.

Or in non-consultantspeak: whether the media shops can sell the concept to their clients.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff