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What Online Video Viewers Want: A Good Laugh

“Comedy. Love, and a bit with a dog.”

That’s what audiences have always craved, according to theater impresario Philip Henslowe in “Shakespeare in Love.” A recent study from Blinkx subsidiary Burst Media seems to confirm that observation. Well, at least the first part.

In a survey of more than 1,000 online adults, Burst found that comedy is the most popular form of online video programming with about 39% of users saying they tune into the Web for a laugh, while 33% like news and 31% chose music. Men 18 to 34 remain the top consumers of Web video, with nearly 20% saying they watch 10 or more hours of Web video each week, compared with about 39% of respondents saying they watch between 1 and 5 hours each week.

The good news for brands is that consumers are more likely to interact with online video ads than most other Internet ads. About 18% said they have taken some sort of action based on an online video ad. That includes visiting the advertiser’s Web site or making a purchase.

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Maybe the rest just aren’t paying attention to ads, though, because about 80% of online video viewers say they’re using the Web while watching TV. Or maybe they’re not watching TV ads either. But we knew that already.

Interestingly, Burst’s findings dovetail with MagnaGlobal’s just-released annual state of advertising report. The media giant reported that online video grew nearly 59% in 2011, hitting $4.7 billion in revenues. 

“Pre- and mid-rolls in online videos now generate 6% of total Internet advertising revenues and one percent (1.1%) of global advertising revenues. Even more than online video sharing specialists, TV broadcasters offering free, ad-funded online ‘catch-up’ of long-form, full-length episodes are driving category growth,” MagnaGlobal said.

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