A new study found that a lot of the confusion regarding online movies and TV shows is caused by the business side of the entertainment industry, not the technology.

As shown in the chart below, 39 percent of respondents in the research by Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) didn’t understand why the selection of things to watch was so limited. Nearly as many (34 percent) didn’t know why some programs or movies were free while others weren’t. And 43 percent had no clue why some Hollywood content was available online before others.

“Confusion and uncertainty over which TV shows are available through which online platforms and which aren’t is certainly holding back increased adoption of online TV viewing,” said Chris Neal, vice president, Tech & Telecom Practice, CMB. “The content licensing intricacies that shape the competitive landscape are ill understood by the typical consumer, particularly mainstream Pay TV subscribers.”

That doesn’t mean that consumers totally get the technology, however. About a fifth of them weren’t clear on the difference between streaming and downloading, and half didn’t understand what “the cloud” is.

Another interesting fact that emerged from the research is that 40 percent of Americans aged 50 or older have viewed a TV show or movie in the past week, a dramatic change in baby boomers’ online viewing behaviors.

CMB did not include user-generated content in the research they conducted for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), which was reported in a study entitled “The New Age of Television: Who is Viewing What, How and on Which Type of Devices.”

Related links:

CTAM – official site

CTAM – media summary

Photo by Flickr user creaid, used under Creative Commons license