Wednesday, August 5, 2009

eMarketer Report Says Online Video Coming Into Focus, 188 Million US Viewers by 2013

In a new report analyzing the upward trajectory of online video consumption, eMarketer projects that there will be 144 million online video viewers in the US this year, growing to 188 million viewers in 2013. The report, Video Content: A Premium Opportunity, points out that audience levels and stream counts are rising, the demographic range of the viewing population is expanding and the content mix is evolving from short, snack-type clips to long-form content such as TV shows and feature films. As the medium matures so do the monetization models but for consumers it's unlikely that they would be willing to ever pay for the bulk of it. It's more likely that in the future Hulu and YouTube would move to a pay-per-view or download model for premium content.

Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the report said,
“Most video inventory is funded through ad support. This includes user-generated content, news clips, humor videos, TV shows and special events such as the Olympics. On the other side of the coin, feature films and mainstream sports content continue to be monetized through subscriptions and download fees.”
Mr. Verna noted that the bulk of the current video inventory is discoverable through social networks, blogs, microblogs, e-mail and other social platforms which TubeMogul confirmed earlier this year. That creates the perfect storm for a viral video hit and opens up opportunities for content distributors and marketers. Video quality is getting better too he added saying that,
“Gone are the days when the space was dominated by short user-generated clips aimed primarily at a collegiate crowd. Now, video offerings cater to all age groups and interests, from teenage sports buffs to news junkies to retirees who enjoy classic movies.”
Online video has come a long way from its early days and the rise of YouTube and other web portals, free and premium destinations fueled that growth. Knowledge Networks found that from 2006 to 2008, the percentages of US Internet users across every age group who accessed full-length TV shows grew by significant margins.

Gavin O'Malley from Mediapost added that,
"A number of trends will keep online video on an aggressive growth trajectory in the coming years. These include mobile distribution through smartphones and next-generation networks; HD streaming and other quality enhancements; better integration among PCs, digital cable boxes and TVs; and interactivity features that work better online than on TV."
For those following the online video industry it should come as no surprise that the growth is exploding, as it was just last month that Cisco announced the results of their Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast and Methodology, 2008-2013 which states that by 2013 video will be 90 percent of consumer IP traffic and 64 percent of mobile. More evidence came earlier in the year when The Nielsen Company reported that viewing of video on television, Internet and mobile devices - the Three Screens - continues to increase and has reached new heights. John Burbank of the Nielsen Company highlights the findings of their A2/M2 Three Screen Report in this video.

Chris Albrecht though suggested that as studios and cable operators make their moves to put their premium content behind subscription walls,
"It’s possible that could actually reduce consumption. Between Time Warner’s TV Everywhere, Comcast OnDemand Online, Netflix, and a supposed Disney subscription service, premium content could choke off its audience before it’s fully realized."
That's unlikely though to stop the continued growth since the millions of online viewers consume video for free through blogs, search engines, social networks and video destination sites.