Only a few short years ago, viewing video online was an exercise in frustration. The few sites that featured video content forced viewers to download clips or launch dedicated streaming players.
It seems like there is video everywhere you look online.
“Today, the online video experience is light-years away from its humble origins. Propelled by YouTube, Web portals, premium sites and other sharing destinations, the Web has exploded with video content—most of it available for free to the consumer in browser-friendly interfaces,” says Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, Video Content: A Premium Opportunity.
eMarketer projects there will be 144 million online video viewers in the US this year, growing to 188 million viewers in 2013.
“Best of all,” says Mr. Verna, “the bulk of the current video inventory is sharable through social networks, blogs, microblogs, e-mail and other social platforms.”
That capability makes every video a potential viral hit and opens opportunities for content distributors and marketers.
The quality of the content is rising, too.
“Gone are the days when the space was dominated by short user-generated clips aimed primarily at a collegiate crowd,” says Mr. Verna. “Now, video offerings cater to all age groups and interests, from teenage sports buffs to news junkies to retirees who enjoy classic movies.”
An indication of the growth in TV show viewing comes from Knowledge Networks, which found that from 2006 to 2008, the percentages of US Internet users who accessed full-length TV shows grew by large margins across every age category.
As the medium matures, monetization models are also coming into clearer focus.
“Most video inventory is funded through ad support. This includes user-generated content, news clips, humor videos, TV shows and special events such as the Olympics,” says Mr. Verna. “On the other side of the coin, feature films and mainstream sports content continue to be monetized through subscriptions and download fees.”
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