Online video watching has been rising for several years and shows no sign of stopping, with a growth rate outpacing most other web services. A new study from Pew Internet shows that online video has surpassed even social networking, only to become one of the most popular activities online, with 62 percent of American Internet users having viewed an online video at some point.
“The audience for online video sharing sites like YouTube and Google Video continues to grow swiftly across all demographic groups, far outpacing the adoption rates of many other internet activities. [...] The use of video sharing sites currently outranks many other headline-snatching internet pastimes among American adults,” the report's authors found. “Over time, online video has become more deeply integrated into daily life, and has started move into the spaces that are typically reserved for traditional television viewing.”
The number of Americans watching online video has doubled in the last years, coming from just 33 percent in December 2006. For the younger demographic video watching has almost become ubiquitous, with 89 percent of those between 18 and 29 years-old having viewed an online video and 36 percent doing it on a daily basis.
Overall the number of users who view online videos on a typical day has also risen, doubling since 2006, from 8 percent to 19 percent today. The numbers are slightly higher for those with broadband Internet connections, which now reach 63 percent of US homes, with 69 percent of users having watched an online video and 23 percent doing it every day.
The number of users watching long-format content online has also risen, no doubt due to the increased popularity of services like Hulu, as 35 percent of Internet users have watched a TV show online, compared to just 16 percent in 2007. But, while watching TV shows online is becoming more popular, many users don't want to diminish the experience, with 23 percent connecting their PCs to a TV screen to watch online video.