Tuesday, February 19, 2008, 11:05 PM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
One of my continuing goals for VideoNuze is to bring relevant research about broadband video to your attention. Today I'm pleased to share a short interview with Bruce Leichtman, president of Leichtman Research Group, Inc. regarding a new survey his firm just released to its clients, "Emerging Video Services II." Bruce is a veteran media market researcher who I've known for many years since we were colleagues at Continental Cablevision.
Bruce has generously provided slides from his new survey exclusively at VideoNuze. The download is available here.
Following is an edited transcript of my interview:
VN: Please provide some background on your firm's new study.
BL: This is the second annual Emerging Video Services study that my company has done. The study is focused on non-TV-based services such as broadband video, mobile video and portable video (example iPod). This is one of five annual syndicated studies.
The survey was conducted in December '07 and January '08 with 1,250 people who were surveyed by phone. The reason that's important is that we're trying to reflect the entire population of the U.S. Remember about a quarter of U.S. homes are still not online, so when I'm doing these studies, I'm trying to project to the entire U.S., and so the studies are also pre-weighted to reflect the age and gender makeup of the U.S. population over 18 years of age.
VN: Talk about some of the study's high level conclusions.
BL: Not surprisingly, when compared to last year's study, online video usage is growing. But what's more important is the detail: who's using it, how are they using it, why are they using it? Today there is not across-the-board usage. It's still very weighted to young, 18-34 year-old males. So this has huge implications for players in this market. You need to know who's really using online video so you can better tailor your product to fit that demographic and the ones that may follow.
Another interesting finding is that the growth in the past year was in fact among the young. So online video's use is continuing to penetrate this demographic more and more deeply.
Yet another is that online video is really a medium unto itself, and consumers don't see it as a replacement for traditional TV, but rather for what it can do uniquely as a new medium. So it's important that companies not see online video as just a replication of TV.
VN: What are the implications of the growing intensity of broadband video adoption by the young?
BL: For companies targeting this demo the key is how to tailor product appropriately. There's a ton of multi-tasking going on, so younger people don't even necessarily see online video or TV as one OR the other, sometimes it can be both at the same time. They obviously live lives that are different than preceding generations. But given they're just one segment, we shouldn't conclude that everything is going to change in the next 3-5 years.
VN: Can you discuss actual usage time?
BL: Across the whole population, people still spend twice as much time watching TV as being online. However, among young males the gap is being squeezed. I don't want to read too much into this data, but TV watching is beginning to decline a bit in the group. Their use of media is changing, but we don't see that across all age and gender groups. The same is true on an income basis. The traditional gap remains for lower income groups.
As with so many things in consumer adoption, it's more about evolution than revolution. Basically what we're seeing is a market evolving. Increase in the number of broadband subscribers, increase in the content that's out there, and an increase in usage. But it's still just a small percentage compared to TV.
VN: What does the study find regarding session lengths?
BL: Over half of those who consume online video say they do it less than 10 minutes at a time. comScore talks about the average session as 2.8 minutes. Today it's really bite-sized morsels, its news clips, UGC, YouTube, comScore says one-third of all legal video is YouTube.
VN: How about in longer-form?
BL: Certainly there's interest in TV and movies, but the challenge is that in reality consumers have choices. And I always like to say "TV is a good place to watch TV." Given a choice of watching a TV show on TV, that is their choice vs. watching online. So there has to be a compelling reason for them to watch online that's differentiated.
VN: Did the survey offer any insight about consumers' interest in dropping cable subscriptions in favor of broadband-only options?
BL: From a consumer's standpoint it's not either/or. Just 4% say they'd switch to online only. The overwhelming majority of people, 87%, would not consider switching.
VN: Did you ask about what kind of broadband video consumers would like to watch on TV?
BL: We really only asked about YouTube and UGC. Do people want to see it on TV? Generally they said no. Just 13% said yes. So maybe this confirms that online is a better medium for this stuff. Those most interested are young men: 29% of men 18-34 said yes, they want it, with 17% of women in the age bracket saying they want to see it.
VN: Thanks for sharing information about this new study.
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