STUDY: COMPUTERS TO REPLACE TV'S

A new study has made the startling conclusion that as much as 20 percent of TV viewing now occurs online. The study, from Integrated Media Measurement Inc., also found that of that 20 percent, about half now use their computers as a substitute for their TV sets. The other half use it to watch program episodes that they have missed ("catch-up" viewing) or have already seen ("fill-in"). Some 30 percent of those watching shows online, it said, are adults 25-34. The study is likely to concern TV ad buyers who have previously been assured that online presentation of TV shows does not cannibalize the broadcast audience. In an interview with Advertising Age, Amanda Welsh, who heads research for IMMI, said, "This is the first single-source passive data to show that the migration from one platform to another is actually occurring -- and it's happening fast." The study concluded that it "is only a matter of time" until most viewers use computers to receive all television programs.

TALENT'S GOT RATINGS

After being bumped off the top of the Nielsen weekly ratings list a week earlier by baseball's All-Star Game, NBC's America's Got Talent regained its leadership as America's most-watched summer show, with 13.2 million viewers. On the other hand, two new summer shows that were expected to perform strongly proved to be disappointments. Both aired on ABC. The game show Wanna Bet? and the High School Musical spinoff Get in the Picture attracted just 3.1 million viewers each. Sticking mostly with reruns, CBS nevertheless won the week with an average 4.1 rating and 7 share. Fox and NBC tied for second with a 3.5/6. ABC trailed with a 2.8/5.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. America's Got Talent, NBC, 7.9/13; 2. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 6.4/11; 3. 60 Minutes, CBS, 6.3/13; 4. NCIS, CBS, 5.9/10; 5. CSI: Miami, CBS, 5.7/10; 6. Criminal Minds, CBS, 5.6/9; 7. Wipeout, ABC, 5.4/9; 8. So You Think Can Dance (Wednesday), Fox, 5.3/9; 9. Dateline (Sunday), NBC, 5.2/9; 9. House (Monday), Fox, 5.2/9; 9. So You Think Can Dance (Thursday), Fox, 5.2/9.

TIGHT RACE CONTINUES AMONG NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS

Among the network nightly newscasts, NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams remained in the lead with 7.31 million viewers, once again edging out ABC's World News with Charles Gibson, which captured 7.17 million viewers. CBS Evening News with Katie Couric continued to trail with 5.60 million viewers.

LIVE ON TV! AN EARTHQUAKE!

Several television programs were being taped or were being broadcast live Tuesday when a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit Southern California. Clips from many of those shows wound up on YouTube, and cameras in CBS's Big Brother house, which continually bring the goings-on in the house to online viewers, captured many of the contestants live in a near state of panic. While the shaking was not nearly as severe as several previous Southern California quakes, it seemed to last longer than most. Television news crews were quickly dispatched to try to find traces of damage resulting from the quake, but could find little or nothing.

BRITISH REGULATOR FINES BBC

OFCOM, the British television regulator, has fined the BBC a record 400,000 ($800,000) for running phony call-in contests in which no members of the audience could possibly win. The BBC accepted OFCOM's findings without challenge, saying that it has established "an unprecedented action plan" to prevent a repeat of the fake contests, including an employee training program and "a strict new code of conduct."

Brian B.