Online video more popular than blogging and social networking

LONDON - Over 70% of US web users watch video clips on the internet, making online video the leading social media platform, ahead of blogging and social networking, according to the Global Web Index.

The US data from the Global Web Index has been released ahead of the full report, which covers 16 countries. It is compiled by Lightspeed Research for social media research consultancy Trendstream.

According to the data, in the US online video now rivals traditional broadcasting and is the fastest growing media platform in history.

In one week in January 2009, 97m people in the US viewed a clip online, as many as were tuning into any major network.

In contrast to some earlier predictions, Generation Y alone is not fuelling the growth.  The survey revealed that over 80% of 16 and 17-year-olds watched video online compared with 65% of those aged 55 to 64. 

Over 50% 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. 

Trendstream said: "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." 

YouTube dominates as the main platform for viewing video online (68% of US video watchers accessed content in this way) and other players fail to make an impact, with the second biggest point for accessing video online being via email (35%).

As such, user-generated and user-disseminated content dominates. Trendstream said: "It is clear that web users themselves will be the main determiners of the future of online video - both in terms of the type of content available and its distribution."

The survey also reveals that engagement levels vary significantly based on the origin of the content that web users are viewing. 

Users have the highest attention span for clips that have been shared with them by a friend (rated 5.54 on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is low attention and 10 is high).  At 3.64, videos of ads command the least attention from viewers. 

Although viral distribution dominates, the size of sharing networks varies greatly.  The majority (72%) distribute content to fewer than three people, while 11% share with networks of at least six people. 

Email is the preferred method of dissemination with nearly half (49.6%) using this process.  Fewer than half that number (22.6%) shared video using a social network, the second most favoured distribution mechanism.

Tom Smith, managing director of Trendstream, said: "In just three years we've reached a real watershed in the way that consumers expect to watch, contribute and share video content. 

"Web users do not want just to watch video: they want to participate at every stage including the creation and sharing of material. Broadcast mode is dead; now is the time for co-creation, user distribution and a true democratization of video content."

Full results from the first wave of The Global Web Index, a survey of 16,000 consumers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Russia, the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, India, China, South Korea, Australia and Japan will be published in June and then updated bi-annually. It is compiled by Lightspeed Research.

David Day, chief executive of Lightspeed Research Europe, said: "Active web users are driving this digital revolution and players at every step of the value chain need to take notice if they are to realise the opportunities that this explosion in online video consumption represents."

Jacquie Bowser recommends


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