Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Short is soooo much better than long

That's the not very shocking conclusion of a new AOL/AP online video poll released yesterday.

Reading the results, here's what caught my eye:

79% of respondents who have downloaded or watched a video clip connect via broadband. No surprise, but it's important to remember that our audience is almost exclusively broadband. A lot of internet polling data is still heavily skewed by dial-up users. I usually ignore the overall numbers and focus only on the broadband results when I can.

Mean hours weekly spent on the internet was 11.1. Mean hours spent watching tv was 13.9. Those numbers are surprisingly close together for a poll in which all adult age groups are represented. Really surprising!

69% of those who watch video online find content contextually (stumble on them as they browse), 61% find them through sharing (sent by friends), and 58% through aggregation - a list of sites they regularly visit. To me, this is the most important finding in the study. It suggests that "pass along" distribution (sharing) and "along the way" distribution (syndication of video in places where your audience is already spending time on the internet), two things I blog about probably more than anything else, are the most popular ways people find content to consume. Wow, that's a great finding for me. I can feel my pagerank rising... oddly enough - while they like to get their video from friends, they don't like to share. Only 1% listed "ability to share" as a reason they like video online.

People don't watch stuff they have to pay for - 93% no, 7% yes. They don't care about commercials - not A SINGLE respondant selected "no commercials" as something they like about online video. Interesting from a business model perspective, and in line with what a lot of smart folks have been saying.

What is liked about online video? Convenience and Accessibility. Period. Only 8% went for entertainment value (of course that's probably because there's not much entertaining stuff online). Of course we all know why this is - people are watching repurposed stuff online - video from major television and movie content providers. They watch it because they missed it on TV, or it's more convenient. When this number shifts, then online video has become a medium.

What people don't like about online video is interesting too. Video quality, a/v issues, and download time. That's what bothered them - not screen size, watching alone, content appropriateness... even though these are things that are often regarded as major hurdles to widespread adoption. Funny that YouTube's quality is soooo crappy, but they still have so many views. My guess is that in a study skewed younger, quality would matter less.

A wonk I am not, but I think those findings are a lot more interesting than the headline.


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