In one week in January, 97 million Americans viewed a streaming clip online -- as many as are tuning into any major broadcast network -- according to a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. active Web users ages 16-65.
What's more, with 72% of U.S. Web users watching clips online, Web video outstrips both blogging and social networking, and is now the leading "social-media platform."
The "broadcast mode is dead," said Tom Smith, managing director of Trendstream. "Now is the time for co-creation, user distribution and a true democratization of video content."
The report also notes the power of interactivity that online video affords. In January 2009, 39% of respondents shared a clip online, and a further 31.5% contributed to the mass of online media by uploading a clip themselves.
Homemade content is by far the most popular content to upload, with 27% of those who uploaded a clip contributing material from this genre.
Content from digital cameras is most likely to make it onto the net, as 48% of contributors used this medium to create their content.
At 26% and 22%, respectively, home PCs and mobiles are the next-most popular choices for creating content.
A full 82% of 16- and 17-year-olds watched video online, compared with 65% of those ages fifty-five to sixty four. Fifty-two percent of 16- and 17-year-olds shared video clips online, compared with 29% of 55- to 64-year-olds, and a further 46% and 21% respectively uploaded a video.
With users from across the age spectrum watching, creating and distributing video content online, the so-called "digital divide" is not as wide as might be expected, according to Trendstream. It is also clear that the online video audience is far more sophisticated and influential than was previously supposed with the heaviest viewers in the 25 to 34 age bracket.
With 49 million active Web users -- 32% -- uploading content in January 2009, users of all ages now generate far more content than traditional broadcasters and collectively contribute the majority of video content to the Web.
According to Trendstream, broadcasters who wish to engage with this highly influential and affluent group need to develop highly compelling, multi-platform content that can be accessed through multiple gateways including email, music sites, news sites, film sites, blogs and social networks.