• New Magid Survey: Short-Form Dominates Online Video Consumption and Hurts TV Viewership

    Survey results being released this morning by Frank N. Magid Associates, a research consultancy, and video aggregator Metacafe provide fresh evidence that short-form video dominates online video consumption. Notably, the survey also goes a step further, finding that 28% of respondents who watch online video report watching less TV as a result.

    Meanwhile though, on the same day earlier this week that I was talking to Mike Vorhaus, managing director at Magid, and Erick Hachenburg, CEO of Metacafe about this new survey, Mediaweek was reporting a separate Magid survey, commissioned by CBS, which found that "35% of the nearly 50,000 streamers surveyed...reported that they are more likely to view shows on the network as a result of having been exposed to content on the web."

    As I learned from Mike, there's no actual contradiction in these 2 surveys' findings, but you do have to squint your eyes a bit to make sure you're understanding the data accurately.

    First, the findings on short-form's domination. The Metacafe survey asked respondents about the most commonly viewed types of video and presented them with category choices. The top 5 selected were all short-form oriented: Comedy/jokes/bloopers (37%), music videos (36%), videos shot and uploaded by consumers (33%), news stories (31%) and movie previews (28%). TV shows comes in at #6 (25%), followed by more short-form categories of weather, TV clips and sports clips.

    That short-form, snackable video dominates is not really a huge surprise, given YouTube's market share and the preponderance of virally shared clips. Yet Mike emphasized that short-form does not equal UGC, a point that Erick also highlights. Rather, Mike sees short-form as a legitimate alternative entertainment format that creatives are embracing and audiences are adopting. It is causing further audience fragmentation resulting in the TV audience erosion that the survey also uncovered.

    Which of course begs how Magid's CBS survey data squares up. Mike explained that the key here is that the CBS survey is based solely on users of CBS.com. These people naturally have a greater affinity for CBS programming and their likelihood of watching CBS shows on TV will be far higher than randomly-selected audiences (such as in the Metacafe survey). Here's the CBS press release for more details.

    So the CBS data suggests that networks should be encouraged that streaming their shows builds loyalty and broadcast viewership, and therefore that they should keep on doing it. Nevertheless they need to be mindful that their shows now compete in a far larger universe of video choices, and that short-form - as a new genre - is something they too should be looking to exploit. Appropriately, all the networks, and many studios, are doing exactly that.

    There is no shortage of research concerning consumer media behavior floating around these days. As the two Magid surveys show, superficially data may appear to be conflicting, though in reality it is not. Observers need to make sure they're digging in, and taking away the right lessons.

    What do you think? Post a comment now!

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