Nielsen Online: Women Favor Long-Form Video

Businesses hoping to get the attention of 18- to 34-year-old women should consider buying ads on Web sites that offer so-called “long form” video installments related to popular network TV shows, according to Nielsen Online.

The company said its VideoCensus syndicated online video measurement service, unveiled last spring, is finding women tend to watch more online versions of TV network programs than do their male counterparts. Men of the same age range gravitate more toward sites like YouTube that feature consumer-generated content, according to the VideoCensus data.

“For advertisers, there’s certainly an opportunity here, particularly on network broadcast sites,” said Michael Pond, a media analyst at Nielsen Online. “It’s another way to reach this desirable young female audience in maybe a more clutter-free environment.” Conversely, the VideoCensus information seems to show that advertisers hoping to catch the eyes of young men should pour more money into ads on consumer-generated side, said Pond.

Pond did not suggest the networks and advertisers give up on trying to target males with long-form online content. Indeed, there are plenty of TV shows enjoyed — and watched regularly — by young men. “It’s an opportunity for the networks to define long-form programming that�s appealing to that male audience,” said the analyst. “There’s a real opportunity there to maybe move that young male audience from the snack-sized video to more of the long-form content. They’re going to have to find the right programming mix that appeals to that audience in order to get them there.”

Pond suggested the networks try to place more long-form content on predominantly short-form Web sites, such as Veoh, that are popular with guys. A glance at Veoh shows this is already taking place. The homepage urges viewers to “watch free, full-length episodes of your favorite shows” and the featured list includes seemingly male-oriented programs such as “The A Team,” “Shark,” “Prison Break,” and “Family Guy.”

Nielson Online released the gender-related findings as a way of announcing that VideoCensus is now out of beta, said public relations manager Suzy Bausch. Nielsen contends VideoCensus is the only syndicated online video measurement service that combines panel and server research. This provides stream counts that are more accurate than other methods, and combining panel and server data also allows VideoCensus to provide more comprehensive demographic reporting, Nielsen said.

“It’s not done on a custom basis,” said Bausch. “Clients subscribe to it and data is updated on a regular basis… Clients tag their video streams and we get demographic data from our panel. It’s our panel and our technology.”

Nielsen Online said video streams at network Web sites were nearly twice as likely to be viewed by young women than by young men of the same age. For the top four consumer generated Web sites, streams were 2.5 times more likely to be viewed by men than by women, according to the report.

Additionally, Nielsen Online reported that streaming activity at the top network sites peaked during weekdays between noon and 2 p.m. while the peak viewing time for consumer generated sites was weekends between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Pond deciphered the data to mean women were using their lunch breaks to catch up on their favorite TV shows.

Nielsen said VideoCensus determined the top video site in December was YouTube, with 2.6 billion streams during the month. Yahoo came in second, with almost 372 million streams, followed by Fox Interactive Media with about 364 million streams. Nielsen Online reported that 116.7 million unique viewers, or 73 percent of Web users, watched about 6.2 billion video streams in December, and the average viewer spent nearly two hours and 10 minutes watching online video during the month.

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