New research has been released which states that the actual amount of time Americans are watching video online is nowhere near as much as has been published.

Basically what is being said is that Americans are not in fact spending so much time watching video as some would have you believe. The research was part of Ball State University's Center for Media Design and funded by Nielsen's Committee for Research Excellence. The cost? A cool $3.5 million. The research? Directly observe just how media is being used on a daily basis including online and mobile video. As it turns out, so they say, online and mobile video are only a very small portion of all video consumption on a daily basis. The other forms of video they say are being consumed avidly are DVD, video games, both live and time-shifted and more

And the Winner is...?

Broadcast television leads the pack by a long shot accounting for about 2/3 of daily video consumption. Obviously, that mode is not quite dead as has been stated lately.  The big loser? Online video, which is said to represent a cool 1% of all daily video consumption. Ouch! Should I be telling you all this? I might be out of a job afterward.

If you're a regular here at ReelSEO you know how I feel about panel-based research and believe the margin of error is always larger than stated and the results tweaked to fit the need. But, this study even knocked my socks off.

Now this could simply be a matter of people not disclosing all the online video they're watching. After all, what if their employers found out that instead of paying attention to all those business meetings and conference calls they were actually catching up on the shows they missed via Hulu or perusing the most popular videos over at YouTube? Perhaps 1% is even an inflated number and people are over-reporting how much they watch. These are potential reasons that the numbers might not be all they should have been in recent research.

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Further results are scheduled to be revealed from the study during a presentation and panel discussion at the upcoming OMMA Video conference June 16th in New York.

I guess we will all need to wait and see what else comes out of the research. For the key findings you can check out the Video Consumer Mapping study PDF.

  • Jason

    Oh that Nielsen! At it again.

    I would also like to see the data by demo. Maybe the numbers have been exaggerated but the trend is what's important. I think in 3 years this will be a non-topic because the media forms will have merged so fully. TV = Online Video and vise versa. Perhaps 5 years.

  • bigfan

    Those numbers are not out of line with online TV (, Hulu,, etc.) accounting for just 1-2 % of total TV viewing time. DVR is about 12%. But online video should take solace in the trends within those nascent viewing numbers. For all viewers age 12-34, but especially males aged 18-34, online video is growing at the fastest rate of viewer growth, to the detriment of broadcast TV and DVRs.

    So, if the space can keep innovating and reaching that age group through their XBOXs, etc., then the future is primed for cord cutting. Hence, cable operators' authentication and entitlement programs.