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Television reshaped by Internet viewing

March 10, 2008 at 3:06 PM

NEW YORK, March 10 (UPI) -- One in five viewers who watched the season premiere of "The Office" in September did so without a television set, The New York Times reported Monday.

While 9.7 million viewers saw the episode on their televisions, 2.7 million decided to watch via the Internet, the show's executive producer Greg Daniels said.

Watching television shows on a computer "has become a mainstream behavior in an extraordinarily quick time," Alan Wurtzel, head of research for NBC said.

The cultural shift has television networks looking for opportunities.

The advantages of watching shows on the Internet include targeting ads to a specific demographic, being able to watch shows anytime and re-opening troves of archived shows, like "Star Trek" and "I Dream of Jeannie."

But executives lament the switch from "analog dollars to digital pennies," Chief Executive of NBC Universal Jeff Zucker said.

"The four and a half billion we make on broadcast is never going to equate to four and a half billion online," Quincy Smith, the president of CBS Interactive said.

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