Online Video: The Complete Picture

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About two weeks ago we asked the very pertinent question of whether online video is sustainable or not and whether you should be using the online video platform to market your content/products/services. But just looking at sustainability is not enough and so today we’re going to look at the demographics and viewing habits of the online video watchers and reach more conclusions about the medium.
There is no question about the popularity of online video and it’s abundantly clear that more and more people are spending a majority of their online time watching video content. By some measures, online video watching is even expected to reach 80% penetration by next year (as a percentage of internet users), and grow to almost 87% by 2011 (possibly a peak penetration level). But numbers and market penetration alone aren’t enough to convince us. Let’s look at the kind of content users are demanding the most.
As you can see there are some professional niches and some ‘other’ areas that we have to discount from the above statistics before we can continue. Television shows, cartoons, movies, and music videos are often illegally posted to video hosting and sharing sites and should probably be considered off-limits. Furthermore, areas like news/current events are not focused enough while others like weather are perhaps too rigidly focused and ultimately not a well-rounded audience to target. At the same time, content like user-generated videos, business and financial news, sports-related content and so on provide a well-focused audiences for marketers to target.
What this shows us is that online video, just like any other medium is not for everyone and that you shouldn’t dive in without looking at if and how your niche has embraced the medium, their engagement level, and potential return on investment (as covered before). At the same time, it can be great for content producers and marketers with very specific audiences in mind.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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  • Seth

    As you rightly point out in both posts, the big problem is a lack of accountability for the effectiveness of the ads. One doesn’t have to be a marketing guru to know that most people are always subconciously trying to get around the ads(this effort being what they really see as the “trade-off” for the free content). I’ve used who-knows how many “free” services today and couldn’t tell you the first thing about any of the ads I’m guessing were there. I think this strategy failure will eventually result in more intrusive and annoying advertising(“do you know that this video is provided by _____ click yes to keep watching” etc.) Now, I’m personally coming at this from more of the content production end, but I think there could be a growing acceptance for pay-based subscription services if it means avoiding things like the example I gave. The only other possible outcome I can see is one taken from the realm of Network Television, that is, one or two “major” funders(i.e “this video/channel is presented to you ad-free, by _____). This would not only prevent a viewer backlash, but it may also help build trust with the advertiser.

  • sweeta-pm

    Sorry, but what is kimerikas?