Online Videos Attract Broad Audience
The research, conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates and commissioned by video-sharing site Metacafe, also found that the Web video audience reflects the broader Internet population, with an average age of 36 and an almost even split between men and women.
In terms of viewing behavior, the vast majority of users (about 130 million Americans ages 12 to 64) watch online video at home and during sessions typically lasting less than 10 minutes. People usually turn to online video to be entertained. Checking out recommended videos and finding viral videos were also key drivers, followed by news clips.
"One of the most notable things we found is the broad range of users," says Michael Vorhaus, senior vice president and managing director at Magid Associates. "This is not any sort of niche behavior." He adds that the research defies the stereotypical view that Web video is mainly the province of young viewers with idle hours to spare.
Even so, the study concludes that the best way to reach most viewers is with funny videos. That's the category that 62% of respondents said they watched most regularly, followed by news (42%), music videos (41%), and user-generated content (40%). Not surprisingly, watching news stories is more popular among older viewers, while the audience for funny videos skews younger.
Based on its survey, Magid Associates categorizes the online video audience by four basic types: escapists, power users, news junkettes, and buzzy bees. Escapists, who compose 30% of the audience, are low-frequency male viewers looking for some type of entertaining distraction. Power users (19%) are heavy users who watch a wide range of video, while news junkettes (24%) are older females who watch a moderate amount of video.
Buzzy bees (27%) are young viewers focused on entertainment and viral videos.
When it comes to evaluating video sites, the ability to search efficiently was considered the most important factor, followed by criteria such as selection and the ability to save favorite videos.
The Magid study was based on a survey of 1,025 U.S. consumers ages 12 to 64 that was conducted between June 29 and July 9, 2007. Respondents had to watch online video at least once a month to qualify for the panel.