Monday, August 31, 2009

The Summer of Online Video

Online video reached another all-time high in July according to comScore with a total of 21.4 billion videos viewed during the month. I know what you're saying, another post in the echo chamber about the explosion of online video... and you're right, because that's what I talk about here on this blog and I think it's more than a year-over-year trend that we're seeing but a sea change. When 158 million U.S. Internet users -- or 80% of the nation's online population -- watched online video in the month July, I think it's fair to say that this is, "The Summer of Online Video".

comScore noted that TV viewers turned to the Internet for fresh content with shows on summer hiatus and Hulu reached all-time high with 457 million video views. While the average online video viewer watches short-form content, we're starting to see a shift to long-form content viewing as more choices become available. With the lackluster pick of summer blockbusters it's no wonder people are staying out of the movie theaters and going online for their entertainment.

Some of the views can also be attributed to unusual media events that became phenomena as comScore tracked in the June numbers:
"including the memorial service for Michael Jackson and the civil unrest in Iran. Such major events have been important for online video viewing in the past, with many users checking out news videos during the workday."
Other notable findings from July 2009 included:
  • The top video ad networks in terms of their actual delivered reach were: Tremor Video Network (20.1 percent viewer penetration), Brightroll Video Network (17.4 percent), and (14.4 percent).
  • 81.0 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
  • The average online video viewer watched 500 minutes of video, or 8.3 hours.
  • 120.3 million viewers watched 8.9 billion videos on (74.1 videos per viewer).
  • 48.2 million viewers watched 518.6 million videos on (10.8 videos per viewer).
  • The average Hulu viewer watched 12.0 videos, totaling 1 hour and 13 minutes of videos per viewer.
  • The duration of the average online video was 3.7 minutes.
In a related report the Nielsen Company's July 2009 VideoCensus noted a 42% year-over-year growth in viewing time of unique users averaging about 3.5 hours with total video streams climbing 31.4% to 11.2 billion, and a 14.2% increase in unique viewers to 136 million.

Different companies, different numbers -- we see it all the time. But how are they actually tracking the views?

According to Nielsen,
"Online video viewing is tracked according to video player, which can be used on site or embedded elsewhere on the Web. For example, if a “Saturday Night Live” clip from is embedded on a personal blog, that video would be attributed to NBC because of the NBC video player. A unique viewer is anyone who viewed a full episode, part of an episode or a program clip during the month. A stream is a program segment. VideoCensus measurement does not include video advertising."
Also, as noted by the many posts on ReelSEO, video usage is up for marketers and based on new findings from Equation Research Christopher Rick stated that online video tops all but Facebook in social media marketing usage.

While many analysts say these recent estimates are still only 1% to 3% of the total video viewing experience, with traditional broadcast TV viewing still on top, it's clear we're in a very transformational time as we shift to a more social and video-centric society. We're able to maintain our presence online through mobile and Wi-Fi connections, broadcast live or upload videos, lifestreams and status updates from our mobile devices. An entire online video ecosystem has emerged over the last few years and I wouldn't be surprised to see "Video" on the cover of Time magazine as the "Person of the Year" ;-)

Updated: New 60's inspired image