Surprise! Online TV is billion-dollar biz

As broadcasters and television networks try to figure out their Internet strategy, the TV content that actually is online is generating quite a pretty penny. Online TV brought in $1.6 billion last year, up 34% from 2009, according to a data analysis by IHS. The largest contributor to that growth was a 65% rise in Internet TV advertising, which reached $719 million in 2010. That's surprising, since Big Media has often beenreluctant to throw its content online, thinking it would jeopardize their lucrative deals with cable providers. And the number of online television streams with ads rose by a measly 10% last year. But some analysts say that the big players in online TV are actually making out pretty well. "Even in this conflicted market, revenue was up, thanks to the proactive attitude of a handful of players, including Hulu and the CW Television Network, which have managed to expand revenue even as consumption growth has leveled out," said Dan Cryan, head broadband media analyst at IHS.

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