Commentary

Prime Time is Web Video Time?

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For the Web video phobics who expect streaming media to cannibalize TV viewing and undermine age-old business models, warm up your paranoia. The share of Web video viewers who are watching online media between 6 pm and 9 pm has gone up more than 30 points in the last two years. The Yahoo!/Interpret study of over 4,000 online viewers compared survey results compiled this year with those from 2009. Back then, video viewing plummeted during the 6 to 9 day part, down to about 10% of users. But in 2009 that number has skyrocketed to about 45% of respondents saying they have watched Web video during that time frame in the last 24-hours. Clearly, Netflix and Hulu, whose use more than doubled among respondents in the last two years, is drawing off eyeballs from prime time. The study also found that the consumption of full-length TV shows among video users went from 11% to 18% since 2009, while the consumption of small clips declined from 84% to 74%.

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The move towards longer, more polished forms of video is only good news for advertisers. Almost all of the right metrics, from ad and brand recall to relevance were stronger for ads seen next to professionally produced content. Interestingly, ad receptivity is enhanced when the video is not standing alone but part of a multi-media context. Fifty-seven percent of people say they like watching a video when it is next to an article. These viewers may also be more engaged with both content and ads, since 24% said they watched the video to get more information (vs. 12% for standalone video), 61% thought of the video as more professional (vs 54%) and 42% recalled seeing advertising (vs. 39%).

Yahoo! characterizes the rise of primetime web video viewing as "meteoric" and suggests the tighter integration of TV and online advertising.

One trend that seems to be easing is video sharing. Yahoo!/Interpret says the raw number of videos that get shared has increased in the last two years, but the number of people who say they share video has declined notably, from 34% in 2009 to 26% now. Part of this is an aging of the video sharing population. The typical video sharer has aged, with 74% now in the 25-54 demo (vs. 64% two years ago). As we get older our compulsion to share clips seems to diminish.

The study is reprinted at GigaOm.
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