One in Three Will Watch an Online Video This Week

More than one of three Americans 18-64 watched a digital video on some kind of device in the last week, but 95% of us watched TV, too, according to a new study from the Media Behavior Institute’s USA TouchPoints research.

I think the fact that I I know several people who only watch TV, and several other people who only watch videos online is one of the momentary features of this world.

Because my list of friends, relatives and acquaintances is probably a lot like yours, that means we all know people who are leaning back most of the time except just sometimes when some of them are leaning forward. It’s an evolutionary time.    

In fact, the change is significant, though we might not feel it. Just last year, according to the Media Behavior Institute, 25% watched a video in the last week. Now, that’s 34%. That’s a pretty big change, though I get the idea the public “feels” it less than the people who are marketing to them because so much television still gets consumed.  

People who watch video online are invariably forced to preface conversations, even with friends, by asking something like, “Do you ever go to Buzzfeed?” before they describe something they saw there. No one has to say, “Do you ever watch NBC?”—though, maybe I should double check on that.

But you get the point.

The new stats might have sounded amazing if in fact they weren’t in line with what our eyes and guts tell us. Video is everywhere from our hip pocket to the computer at work, but those 500 channels on your television set, or movies from Netflix or Amazon or other Roku provider are too.

Indeed, the report says in a given week 99.65% of us watch something somewhere somehow, be it on a big TV or an iPhone. In the average day, 11% watch something online, compared to 7% a year ago. What we don’t do any more or less of this year than last is use our DVR. Weekly use is at 43% this year, as it was last year (remarkable since Hulu and other sites provide much of what a viewer could largely get for themselves from a DVR).   

Growing up, I was always amazed how the TV sets at my friends’ homes were so often located in the geographic center of their homes. Mine too. You could have plotted it with a compass.

This report says that’s still true in theory if not physically. “The home still remains the center of all video consumption,” the report says.  “This is even true of mobile phones and tablets suggesting that while people can watch video anywhere, they prefer to do so in a familiar, relaxed environment.  Video viewing is a predominantly family affair, with a larger percent of viewers using devices while they’re alone or with immediate family than with any groups of people combined (including extended family, friends, co-workers etc.)”

For example, 52% of those studied watched “any digital video” with their families, while 82% watched TV with the nuclear gang. VOD was a little different—70% watch with the family.

Nielsen and GfK MRI hold minority equity stakes in the independently-held Media Behavior Institute that focuses on how consumers use media and react to marketing.  USA TouchPoints is the company’s syndicated research service.

3 comments about "One in Three Will Watch an Online Video This Week ".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from, network, March 21, 2013 at 4:45 p.m.

    "One in three will watch an online video this week" ... while the other two out of three give-up trying to watch, frustrated by the latest "required" Flash player's refusal to work, or opening ads that can't be skipped, or intrusive banners, or buggy wi-fi, and so on.

    ... My point being that until online video is as simple and quick to access as TV - by everyone - comparing the two is a muddy set of numbers at best. Most of the published research I read focuses on why something is viewed, and by whom, and very little on why it isn't, and by whom.

  2. Chuck Lantz from, network, March 21, 2013 at 4:53 p.m.

    ... and speaking of muddy, after re-reading my last sentence, I should clarify it a bit. ... If you ask a user why they decided to watch a video or whatever, the best you'll get is a good guess, since even they aren't sure why. But if you ask someone why they passed on the opportunity to view a video, you'll get a much more clear and valid answer.

  3. pj bednarski from Media business freelancer, March 21, 2013 at 5:10 p.m.

    Well, that last comment is interesting. I am sure I could tell you why I don't watch, almost always, for TV and online The difference is that in online is the only one I would not watch because (still) the video doesn't develop. In that way, some video is like the old days of UHF TV when you couldn't get the channel in clearly. But mostly, bad online video experiences from a tech/quality of video POV seems to be pretty limited these days.

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