Pew Study: Web Users Want Professional Video

Over half of online adults share a hunger for online video, while 19 percent watch or download video on a typical day, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report on online video.

Those who pursue video favor sophisticated content. Sixty-two percent of online video viewers express a preference for video created by professionals, versus 19 percent who would rather watch video produced by amateurs. Eleven percent remains agnostic to the skill level of the creator. YouTube, which provides a mix of consumer-generated and professionally-produced video, is frequented by 27 percent of the online video audience.

Commercials and other forms of video advertising, whether users sought the content specifically or saw ads in the form of a rich media banner or in-stream placements, were viewed by 13 percent of online video watchers, the report found. Additionally, advertising-driven events like the Super Bowl tend to act as motivators for people to seek out ads online. Two percent report watching ads on an average day.

“We wanted to pick up on the Super Bowl effect of people using the Internet to watch commercials or ads after the fact,” said Mary Madden, senior research specialist at Pew Internet. “Also, there is a whole rise of commercials that look like they were generated by individuals in their living rooms, but [were] in fact funded by some marketing campaign.”

With some overlap, content categories such as news, comedy, movies and TV, music, sports, commercials and political videos are regularly watched on the Web. News is among the most popular, partly because news organizations were among the first organizations to invest in online video. The format also lends itself to Internet browsing patterns.

“News has a foothold in this realm,” said Madden. “The nature of news content is short, bite-sized clips. They lend themselves to online.” Madden also notes news accounts for a significant portion of content on YouTube.

Unsurprisingly, Broadband adoption has increased the supply of video content and ad inventory. Three-quarters of broadband users have watched video online. Among those relegated to dial-up, Madden said, “one in three have watched online video,”

Young adults, and particularly males, are more active in watching and uploading content. “Young adults are what we call the most contagious carriers in the spread of online video,” Madden said. “They are more likely to share links, more likely to upload video themselves, and feed the discussion of online video with things like posting comments and rating content.”

While a larger portion of consumers watch online video at home, the study finds one in four users watch at work. “While some of that viewing may be work-related, it is a sign of the new coffee break culture where video snacking replaces heading outside for a jolt of caffeine,” said Madden.

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