Online Video Captivates American Youth

A new survey from market research firm Ipsos finds that by the end of 2006 nearly 100 million Americans age 12 or older had streamed some sort of online video. The number translates to about 44 percent of the entire U.S. population over the age of 12, and, according to Ipsos, highlights how online video is capturing the minds and hearts of the American public. Some 22 percent of Americans aged 12 and over reporting having downloaded a digital video file.

"Clearly the YouTube phenomenon has caught on with Americans, and given their appetite for video, the ability to select and watch exactly what you want online has become a strong lure for many consumers," said Brian Cruikshank, Executive Vice President of the Ipsos Insight Technology & Communications practice. "While streaming video online has clearly emerged as Americans’ favorite way to access video online, it also may be blazing a trail for other video formats and acquisition methods in the future."

The numbers come from Ipsos from MOTION, the firm’s bi-annual study of digital video behaviors.

The study found that teens and young adults are the most likely demographic to be streaming online video: 73 percent of respondents between the ages of 12 and 17 reported having streamed online video, as did 75 percent of respondents between ages 18 and 24. Ipsos also found Americans who tap into online video streams are an advertising demographer’s dream, being more likely to have high-speed Internet access, high levels of education, and (of course) high incomes, even when compared to other Americans with Internet access.

What do these folks stream? Short clips. Three quarters of all digital video streamers reported having streamed short clips from news or sports programming, while two third reported streaming amateur or home-made video clips. Ipsos speculates the popularity of short-format clips has been driven by YouTube, and reports that more than 40 percent of respondents who streamed video reported having access the site. Other commonly visited video streaming sites included MySpace and Google Video.

The study also found that teens and young adults store 20 percent of their video library in writable digital format, whether on hard drive or to DVD-R discs, as opposed to standard DVD or (shudder) VHS format. Ipsos forecasts the size of consumers’ digital video libraries will expand as the marketplace for streamed and downloaded video grows.

"Perhaps more impressive than simply how many young adults are currently tapping the Internet for their video entertainment, is that given how important it is for many marketers today to reach this group, we could be witnessing a tipping point in the evolution of digital video offerings online," said Cruikshank.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: