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Online Video Goes Mainstream

18- to 34-year-olds at the forefront

April 28, 2010

This year, eMarketer estimates that 66.7% of US Internet users—147.5 million people—are watching video online each month. By 2014, that figure is forecast to rise to 77% of Internet users, or 193.1 million people. In the same period, online video advertising spending will surge from $1.4 billion to $5.2 billion.

US Online Video Viewers, 2008-2014 (millions and % of Internet users)

The roots of a content-delivery platform rivaling that of TV are beginning to take hold and will continue to grow over the next five years as consumers become comfortable with watching all forms of video content—long and short, professional and amateur—on their Internet-connected phones, laptops, desktops, tablets and TVs.

But by 2014 the notion of monthly viewership, eMarketer’s current standard, will likely be outdated. Daily or weekly viewing will be the relevant frequencies, with usage perhaps measured in minutes and hours spent each day, as it is for a small yet significant and growing portion of teens and young adults who expect content to be available anywhere on demand.

Already, 29% of Internet users under 25 say they watch all or most of their TV online, according to a survey commissioned by Retrevo.

A closer look at viewership rates by age shows classic early-adopter patterns, with 18- to 34-year-olds exhibiting the highest viewership.

US Online Video Viewers, by Age, 2008-2014 (% of Internet users in each group)

eMarketer projects significant growth in video viewers across all age groups in part because of how easy it is to share content online. But the amount of time baby boomers and seniors will watch online video will be smaller compared with their younger counterparts because of their familiarity with traditional TV viewing.

US Online Video Viewers, by Age, 2008-2014 (millions)

Another trend marketers are watching is pay walls, but how much professional content will be put behind them is unclear. Subscription models would have a dampening effect on overall consumption and advertising dollars. The free long-form content on, for example, has been a factor in widening viewer demographics and increasing ad spending.

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Check out today’s other article, “Nearly Half of Mobile Ads Served to Smartphones.”


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