A survey conducted by Deloitte and YouGov reveals that British TV fans are more likely to turn to a network’s site rather than YouTube or iTunes if they miss a show when it airs.

The survey said viewers’ awareness of broadcasters’ on-demand sites, such as the BBC’s U.K. iPlayer service, had overtaken that of both YouTube and iTunes at 84% compared with 76% and 64% respectively.

Deloitte’s media and telecoms partner James Bates said: “In an ironic twist to earlier expectations, broadcasters and independent producers may, in the medium-term, be those that benefit most from online television.

“Broadcasters may increasingly use online television to support their core, traditional objective of maximizing broadcast audience size and quality.”

Bates added that online video clips, distributed via TV companies’ own websites and third-party platforms, spark interest in broadcasters’ shows while catch-up services enable auds to keep up with programs they’ve missed.

This has long been evident in the United States, where networks started coming down on YouTube and other sites that were illegally hosting their programming. In a rather smart move, the major networks partnered to create Hulu, a site supported by commercials that allows viewers to watch their favorite shows on the Internet for free. It’s currently impossible to watch a full episode of an American show on YouTube and few fans want to pay the fee iTunes charges. When watching an episode for free on Hulu or the network’s webpage, the viewer only has to sit through about three minutes of commercials. I’m happy this is working out with Brtish TV fans. The networks just have to hope the writers don’t complain.