I took all of July and tracked how much online video viewing I was doing to see how I stacked up against the alleged average users in reports from comScore and Nielsen. It might have been an odd month as I had discovered a lot of extra content and partway through I got a Netflix free month as well which might have lifted my viewing.
comScore reported that 180 million Americans who are watching online video in any given month are usually putting in about 1240 minutes each (roughly 20.3 hours). I think I topped that in the first week. Nielsen doesn't track minutes, or videos, they track streams, which they say averaged about 160 per viewer in May. Personally I watched around 137 different videos and that totaled around 3536 minutes (or 58.9 hours) though it might have been closer to 60 hours. Yeah that's a lot as it averages to 2 hours a day but usually came in longer clumps when I would finish work and lie on the couch from 10pm til 3am or on a Saturday after working til 3am doing doorman at a local bar.
Where Did I Watch?
The places I watched video was far less diverse and robust:
- Hulu – 51
- Netflix – 41
- YouTube – 29 videos
- Yahoo – 15 (all Electric City stuff)
- Vimeo – 1
The majority of my viewing was done at home on either the PC or the Xbox 360. A couple were watched away from the when I was showing something to friends or on the iPad when I was staying over some place and everyone had gone to sleep already. I didn't really watch anything in a 'mobile' situation as my phone is smart, but slow and the iPad is Wi-fi only.
What Did I Watch?
So I'm not all that avid of a YouTube viewer where I mostly watched some DirecTV commercials to show friends, and a lot of Geek & Sundry's Tabletop with Wil Wheaton and the new original series Save the Supers. The only reason I went to Yahoo! was Electric City. The one Vimeo video was shared by someone on a social network. I watched a full animated TV series (Avengers) on Netflix which accounted for 26 episodes. I also watched all 8 episodes of their original web series, Lilyhammer. Hulu, is my main source as it has TV episodes like Master Chef, Hell's Kitchen, SyFy's Eureka, BBC's Rev and F Word and other shows like The Yard. They also have original web series like Leap Year and Spoilers! The majority of time was probably Downton Abbey which had 16 episodes and totaled 367 minutes or so (roughly 10% of my month's viewing time).
Original web series took up 39 videos and around 606 minutes or roughly 10 hours and included:
- Leap Year (Hulu)
- Tabletop (and some interviews, etc) (YouTube)
- The Offenders (YouTube)
- Lilyhammer (Netflix)
- Electric City (plus trailer and some behind-the-seens) (Yahoo!)
- Dirty Laundry (a one-shot featuring Thomas Jane as the Punisher) (YouTube)
- Save the Supers (YouTube)
- Course of the Force (from The Nerdist) (YouTube)
In terms of TV shows it consisted of:
- Master Chef (FOX)
- Hell's Kitchen (FOX)
- The Yard (from Canada)
- Rev (BBC)
- The F Word (BBC)
- White Collar (USA Network)
- The L.A. Complex (CW)
- Downton Abbey (PBS Masterpiece)
- Eureka (SyFy, Hulu – final season *Sniff* *Sniff*)
- Avengers (Marvel)
- Sherlock (BBC)
- Robin Hood (BBC)
- Lip Service (BBC)
TV shows, being longer generally, took up far more time. For example, Downton Abbey episodes are nearly an hour each and the cooking shows are 48 minutes each roughly.
Everything else was random game trailers, commercials (as mentioned), a couple music videos, and a really cool video that had light sabers in a Game of Thrones fight.
I did watch some TV as well including a few baseball games (usually while doing something else), Falling Skies (on TNT because they have authentication) and maybe an episode of Conan and Craig Ferguson as well as the nightly news, once.
The reason I watch a lot of those TV shows online is because I can do it at my leisure and can catch up on seasons at a time. Plus, no authentication needed with Hulu or Netflix, right now. Master Chef and Hell's Kitchen are the ones that are airing new episodes which I catch the next day or so, depending on when FOX gets them to Hulu. The L.A. Complex, which is from CW whom I hate because it's all teen angst soaps, just happened to pop up in a recommendation so I checked it out. Actually, speaking of that, The Yard and Rev were also recommendations for me.
I generally discovered the TV stuff by searching for something new while the original web series I either knew of our found through social networking, like my actively growing circle of Twitter people who are making original web series. I don't recall how I found Tabletop, it was probably via Wil Wheaton's Twitter feed though. The Offenders is the only show I found by actually meeting someone, when I was in LA at E3 someone was passing out cards about it, so we chatted quickly and I finally checked it out.
The recommendation engines of both Netflix and Hulu need some work. So do the search capabilities. Both are clunky and hard to navigate at times. They really could use some work on the user experience. Perhaps they should tie into GetGlue and utilize the user data from that to better recommend other content.
YouTube was clearly the winner for online series as all but Leap Year, Electric City and Lilyhammer were there. It seems like a possibly viable distribution avenue though I question the ability to monetize properly without having a large following. Plus, YouTube has all those weird sorts of copyright things so who knows whether or not they'll block something from generating revenue, like they did with the Gamers Daily News video game reviews, citing that the content was owned by a game company. Duh! It's an F-ing video game review. I wonder how Film State and Film Riot gets away with it.
I don't actually consider myself a couch potato. My normal viewing hours are somewhere around 9-10 until 3 maybe 4am as well as parts of the day on Saturdays and Sundays. As I said, I don't think this was a standard month for me as I was actively searching for some new original web series to watch and I discovered Downton Abbey (via Craig Ferguson who talks about it all the time). Plus, there are other things going on that have changed my amount of free time. I suspect an average month would be closer to 30-40 hours as opposed to the 60 of July.
One final note, I only watched a couple things on the iPad, an episode of Tabletop and an episode of Downton Abbey. Clearly, it's not a major video platform for me at the moment.