Well, well, well. Some very cool data coming out this week from One Touch Intelligence, which is a provider of "intelligence solutions for companies in the communications industry.”
They've done a study on American households and their entertainment viewing habits—with a specific eye toward Internet viewing. They actually only surveyed households that already watch Internet video, and the study attempts to break down the habits of those folks.So the conclusion isn't your standard "More people watch online video!" kind of thing. It's more about discovering how they consume Internet video, and I found it pretty interesting.
American households that watch video on the Internet spend 31% of their "entertainment viewing" time to online video. That's kind of staggering, actually. I am pretty progressive in my tech and entertainment habits—I like to be near the leading edge of a trend. But I still haven't completely cut the cord to cable service. I'd be willing to bet I spend less than 31% of my viewing time on online video, probably something closer to 20%.
To give you some context on that 31% number, One Touch says that it's more than twice the amount of time respondents spend watching DVDs, and five times the amount of time spent watching pay-per-view or On Demand content.
What are they watching? Oh, it's Hulu by a mile. Hulu is the most-watched site for TV episode and movie content, snagging 53% of these "Internet-video-consuming" households at least one time per month, which is more than YouTube's share of the same pool of customers. Of course, we should probably also point out that YouTube doesn't have anywhere near the quantity and quality of television and movie content that Hulu has, so the comparison is a little unfair. It's like saying "More people watch music videos on YouTube than on Hulu… in your face, Hulu!” It's just apples to oranges. Regardless, Hulu appears to be more of a destination site for American families that love Internet video, and that's worth pointing out.
The study also found that people who use their television for Internet video—meaning, people who connect a PC or other device to their TV and then watch Hulu or YouTube videos that way, a group that makes up only 11% of the total Internet-video viewing public—are far less likely to partake in "short-form" content (clips, snippets, short videos) than people who just use a computer to watch video online. Interesting, but again it kind of makes sense. We've been trained to treat the TV like a long-form device, and we generally know to expect at least 30 minutes of content when we sit down to watch it.
Those who hook the web up to their TV for Internet video are also more likely to use a Wii or Xbox 360 than they are a laptop. This one is easy to explain. I spent some time without cable when we moved a year or so ago, and it is a royal pain in the neck to get up and move the computer near enough the TV that the VGA or HDMI cable will reach, connect the cable, etc. Whereas your Playstation 3 or other console can stay hooked up to your television all the time… there's no getting up or connecting cables. So I'm not surprised by this at all.
There's a cool breakdown stat that I love: of all the Internet-video viewing households, 52% of viewers exclusively use a PC, 42% watch on both the TV and the computer, and only a measly 6% use the TV screen exclusively. That'll change. As more and more Internet-ready TV's and ancillary devices hit the marketplace, you're going to see the balance shift toward the television—which can provide a much richer experience than viewing on a 15-inch laptop can offer. It's a great snapshot look at where things stand, and I hope One Touch Intelligence follows it up with a similar study in 6-12 months so we can see some movement and trending in the data, because I'm guessing that in the world of long-form video viewing online… nothing much stays the same for very long.