Magazine article Information Today

I Want My Net TV!

Magazine article Information Today

I Want My Net TV!

Article excerpt

Nearly 27 years ago MTV premiered, introducing a generation to the idea of consuming entertainment in 3-minute clips. In the intervening years the network has all but given up on music videos, but thanks to the internet, bite-sized media is back in a big way.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's 2007 report on online video, three-quarters of broadband users with high-speed connections at home and work watch or download online video. The amount of video they are watching continues to grow: comScore, Inc.'s Video Metrix service indicated that in February 2008 alone, U.S. internet users viewed more than 10 billion online videos. This represented a 3% growth over the previous month, despite the fact that January was 2 days longer.

Far more impressive, online viewing was up 66% from February 2007. Though the specific reasons for the dramatic increase are unclear, the material provided for online video by a contentious presidential primary combined with the lack of material on television due to the Writer's Guild of America strike surely had an impact. According to the Nielsen ratings, on average television viewing was down 11.5% from the previous February.

But, like all things Web 2.0, online video isn't just about consuming, it's also about creating. According to Pew, young adults (ages 18-29) are the largest audience for online video. Fifteen percent of young adult users have uploaded video for others to watch; 30% of young adult viewers say they actually prefer viewing amateur video over professionally produced content.

It's not surprising, then, that YouTube is by far the most popular of the online video sites. Alexa Internet, Inc. ranks YouTube as the fourth most popular website among U.S. users (beat only by Google, Yahoo!, and MySpace). The comScore numbers indicate that "Google Sites" saw more than 3.5 billion videos viewed, which accounted for fully 35.8% of total online video views. YouTube comprised 96% of that Google traffic, with 3.42 billion videos viewed. Compare that with the next biggest contender, FOX Interactive Media (MySpaceTV,, which garnered only 586 million views, 5.8% of the total.

Chris Walter, assistant director of the Haddon Heights (N.J.) Library, is at the older end of the young adult demographic, but it doesn't seem to lessen his enthusiasm for online video. "YouTube is one of my favorite websites," he says, "and at this point, I can't imagine not having access to it. "Walter estimates that he spends at least 5 hours a week watching online video, and often more. Though he still enjoys many things traditional media such as television offers, he says, "I really love YouTube because I can find clips of music videos, concert excerpts, sporting event highlights, or whatever. These are videos that you can't just turn on your TV and watch.... When something pops in my head, I can go right to my computer and watch it."

But don't think the presence of an 800-pound gorilla in the online video room is stopping others from trying to squeeze in. A recent report on "Characteristics of Video Sharing Sites" from online video analytics and distribution firm describes no fewer than 11 different services. (YouTube is described as "America's Funniest Home Videos of the internet.") Noteworthy sites include Dailymotion (the "YouTube of Europe";, MySpaceTV ("arguably the best social network ... but [it still has] a lot of work to do to integrate with the videos"; http://vids.myspace .com), and Revver ("revenue share pioneers"; www, among others.


Some of these lesser-known sites are serious competitors for traffic, albeit sometimes in different markets. David Burch, marketing manager for TubeMogul, reiterated the report, noting that "DailyMotion has YouTube-sized numbers in Europe." But even in the American market there are other viable sites. …

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