Sunday, January 22, 2006

Demographics and Reach

A new topic I'm going to explore on this blog is the demographics and reach for video content - video podcasts, online video, and mobile video. Hopefully, we'll reach some conclusions - not only about who is watching, but also about how to measure who is watching.

One of the greatest characteristics of the internet is its measurability. Not only can you measure hits, downloads, unique vistors, etc, but with the most recent version of Quicktime, for example, you can encode your content so that it pings your server when the viewer reaches a particular place in the program, allowing you to measure not just who plays the media, but who is still watching after three minutes, or seven minutes... if they are logging in to get your video and answering a few questions, bingo - you have precise demographic information flowing to you.

The same cannot be said, however, for video that is downloaded from the web and viewed on the desktop or on a personal device. Here, it is very easy to track who downloads the video, but it is not currently possible to track who watches what they download. I'm interested in exploring how we can take what we understand about downloading and viewing behavior and extrapolate "ratings." I also want to find out how the industry is working to close this gap in technology.

To get the demo conversation started, there's a great article in the NY Times today that paints a picture of the digital life that teens and early twenties lead. Using information from the PEW study I've quoted in this blog before and a few test cases, they do a great job of illustrating some of their characteristics from a marketing perspective.

"We think that the single largest differentiator in this generation from previous generations is the social network that is people's lives, the part of it that technology enables," said Jack McKenzie, a senior vice president at Frank N. Magid Associates, a market research and consulting firm specializing in the news media and entertainment industries.

"What's hard to measure, and what we're trying to measure," Mr. McKenzie continued, "is the impact of groupthink, of group mentality, and the tendency of what we might call the democratization of social interaction and how that changes this generation's relationship with almost everything they come in contact with."

And drawing from the Pew study...

Among those with access to the Internet, for instance, e-mail services are as likely to be used by teenagers (89 percent) as by retirees (90 percent), according to Pew researchers. Creating a blog is another matter. Roughly 40 percent of teenage and 20-something Internet users do so, but just 9 percent of 30-somethings. Nearly 80 percent of online teenagers and adults 28 and younger report regularly visiting blogs, compared with just 30 percent of adults 29 to 40. About 44 percent of that older group sends text messages by cellphone, compared with 60 percent of the younger group.

And as the millennials diverge from their elders in their media choices, so do the ways in which they can be reached and influenced.

The preceding generation may have thought that e-mail, newsgroups, Web forums and even online chats accelerated the word-of-mouth phenomenon. They did. But they are nothing compared with the always-live electronic dialogue among millions of teenagers and 20-somethings.


Blogger clarkityclark said...

it's a good thing i am unemployed right now or i would never be able to keep up with your blog.

4:11 AM  

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