Internet Users Lined Up for Video

As networks and other content creators line up to bring video to the Web, anticipation for rich media programs grows. Research from Points North Group finds TV junkies waiting for implementation from providers like Yahoo and Google.

One third of survey respondents said they are interested in the yet-to-be-launched Google Video. A preference for Yahoo Go resonated with 41 percent of the group. Stewart Wolpin, senior analyst at Points North Group, suggests Yahoo’s offerings have more market share in this situation because the portal has set itself up as more than a search engine.

“Go to the Yahoo front page, and it shows you all the content that’s there; it gives you a lot more than a search engine,” Wolpin said. “People say Yahoo is the place to go and do things, Google is the place to go and do searches. I don’t think there’s a clear delineation that Google has video.”

However, it was recently reported that Yahoo may scale back its initial plans for video content. The programs likely to take a hit are those Yahoo planned to produce itself.

The sought-after 18-to-34 year-old audience garnered more interest for both brands than the survey group as a whole. Fifty-four percent of the group expressed interest in the Yahoo Go service. Interest in Google Video trails Yahoo’s service with 46 percent of the market.

Pull-video service isn’t limited to viewing on the computer, and Internet users are aware of their choices. They look for a range of video offerings. Potential Google Video users want to watch on a computer or laptop (22 percent); TV (20 percent); iPod or comparable entertainment device (4 percent); or cell phone or PDA (3 percent). Yahoo Go users preferences are to view video on their computer or laptop (31 percent); TV (14 percent); cell phone or PDA (10 percent); or an iPod or comparable device (5 percent).

Download versus stream is an issue that will see more attention once video-oriented services become more available. Google Video will allow Internet users to download content. Yahoo Go enables users to access information and entertainment stored on Yahoo from connected devices.

“Downloading is always going to be a preferable form because it will be a seamless experience,” said Wolpin. “For the consumer who is used to tuning into the TV, they’re going to expect the same thing. The first time a stream burps or buffers, that’s going to turn [the user] off.”

The research was conducted by Points North Group and Horowitz Associates. Findings are based on an independent online survey of 500 consumers.

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