28 percent of Europeans now regularly watch online video, more than double the rate in 2006, according to a new report from JupiterResearch, a leading authority on the impact of the Internet and emerging consumer technologies on business. The report, 'Online Video in Europe: Managing TV Audience Fragmentation' finds that online video is now the most popular online media activity.
Though time spent consuming online video in Europe has grown by 50 percent in the last 12 months, it has not been at the expense of TV: European internet users still spend more time watching TV than going online. But the European audience for video content, fueled by next-generation broadband connections and increased laptop ownership, will see further growth as multiple online outlets emerge. As online consumption of video grows, European broadcasters must develop strategies to distribute content across online and TV to engage an increasingly fragmented audience.
Short form video content – typified by YouTube - currently accounts for the majority of online video behavior and just nine percent of Europeans watch full length video. However Jupiter predicts this rate will increase significantly as the success of TV broadcaster online services such as the BBC's iPlayer in the UK and M6 Replay in France demonstrates the growing appetite for watching longer-form video. Jupiter advises broadcasters to embrace a variety of tactics, including offering their content through third-party sites, to drive the distribution of legitimate free content in the face of competition for young audiences online.
"Online video has now broken through and is a key activity for European Internet users. Although TV is still the primary place to watch video content, it is vital that broadcasters actively engage users online as well as on TV," said Nick Thomas, European Media Analyst and lead author on the report. "As viewers spend longer watching video online, broadcasters must ensure that the content viewers want to see is available online via legitimate sites, or risk losing audience to pirate sites.”
"Models to monetize online video content are still emerging, but the audience is already there, and growing rapidly," said David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch. "Broadcasters must respond to this shift in consumption to ensure their offerings are relevant to future audiences.”