Reality TV: The Web's Killer App

They were once thought to be a fad, but they turned into some of the most durable franchises on television. And for all the many factors keeping reality shows on TV–high ratings, low costs, no unions to deal with– add another: they kill on the Web.

Just look at the top TV Web properties last week, according to Hitwise. The top five, and seven of the top 10, are based on reality series. Why? We’d guess that the format of the shows, which ask viewers to vote, call in tips, or pick a side, make for naturally sticky, interactive Web sites.

CBS’s top show on TV may be “CSI,” but it gets a fraction of the traffic of “Survivor” or “Big Brother” on the Web. And with ad dollars shifting to the Web, it’s another reason the search for America’s Next Top Reality Show will remain a top priority for the networks.

Hitwise market share:

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