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Are Short Videos Best for the Web?

Online viewers want longer content

Good news for video publishers: Online video viewers are, for the most part, still watching as much TV and seeing as many movies on DVD and in theaters as ever.

Only 11% of online video viewers ages 12 to 64 surveyed in March and April by Frank N. Magid Associates said they had cut back on their TV time as a result of their Internet watching. One in 10 respondents said they went to movie theaters less as a result of online video, and only 7% said their DVD viewing had declined.

That may have something to do with the availability of full-length TV programs and movies online.

"The bulk of video consumed online today is typically short-form entertainment, rather than full TV episodes or full-length movies," said David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer.

Last year, about one-half or more of US online video viewers surveyed regularly watched short news pieces, humor clips, movie trailers and music videos. Only about one in four viewers watched full-length TV shows, and only 14% viewed full-length movies.

But full-length TV shows were ranked as the most highly desired type of TV content by US and Western European adult Internet users surveyed in Q1 2008 by Opinion Research Corporation for Accenture.

In addition, more than one-half of online video viewers in the US polled by Harris Interactive last November said they would watch more full-length TV shows if they were available online, and nearly one-half felt the same way about full-length movies.

So online video viewers are anxious to watch longer content on the Web. Even if they start watching less TV and going to theaters less as a result of doing so, content publishers do not necessarily worry about their total revenue pool drying up.

Most Internet users seem aware that the money for longer programming has to come from somewhere. More than three-quarters of respondents to a February 2008 Ipsos MediaCT survey said that watching advertising was a reasonable tradeoff for full-length movies online. A full 82% said ads in full-length TV programs would be acceptable. In fact, respondents were far less tolerant of the idea of ad exposure in exchange for short-form content.

The eMarketer Online Video Marketing report will be published next month. Click here to be notified when it is released.

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