Blip.tv and Dynamic Logic got together for some research into web series viewing habits, and did some number crunching to see when where and how people are consuming original web series offered at Blip.tv. It also gleaned some information on how the viewers feel about the advertising they encounter.
Multiple Platform Online Viewing Increases, Cable TV Decreases
According to the research, cable TV is seeing viewing drop off in this particular demographic (Blip.tv viewers) of around 9% compared to six months prior and that same demographics is watching around 26% more online video (via PC), 19% more on mobile devices and 18% more on video consoles.
None of which should come as a surprise really since there have been massive strides this year in bringing more video content to mobile devices and a major rise in mobile devices capable of offering a great viewing experience. The same goes for the game consoles as exemplified by Microsoft's efforts on Xbox TV which will launch later in the year in some markets.
What is somewhat surprising is that the original online video content is replacing the standard TV watching time. The most common time to watch online web series is 8-11pm with 6-8pm just behind it.
And here I thought it would be during work hours. But it does make sense, I have entire weeknights personally where there's not a single show on TV that appeals to me and one that did, The Playboy Club, has already been given the ax so I expect more casualties there. Plus, I do a lot of watching on-demands and Hulu instead of watching when they air, Fridays are a classic example of a DVR or on-demand catch up day because usually, I'm not sitting home to watch those shows.
What Viewers Think of Ads Online
Not surprisingly, banner ads were reported as being most favorable for original web series viewers (35%). Why? Because we can ignore them and they don't make us wait to get our content, that's my guess anyway. After all, if you're in full screen mode, you don't see the display ads. Or if the ads are banners displayed in the video player you can generally ignore or close them.
Pre-rolls came in second with just 15% stating they preferred them which means that those mid-rolls that some places are so fond of probably aren't all that popular. In fact, I keep some type of work at hand for those very ads, as soon as they begin to play, I pick up that work and make good use of the time, especially because many of those ads are highly repetitive and I don't really need to see them more than one, let alone five times during a 30-minute show. Ad diversity is definitely something that online video content publishers need to look at and work on. If you watch 2-3 episodes you'll see the same ad up to 15 times, sometimes even back-to-back and if I'm not busy doing something else, my eyes just glaze over and I couldn't tell you what the ad was about.
Here's Dina Kaplan, co-founder of Blip.tv:
"We commissioned this study, the largest research project to date on viewers of original series, to gain a deeper understanding of how and when people are engaging with online content. It's clear from the research that web series fans are beginning to watch less television, while at the same time increasing the amount of content consumed on the web. It's also significant that our viewers are more accepting of advertisements on web series, perhaps because fans are grateful to the advertiser for making the show possible. That's a very different mindset, for a viewer, than seeing an ad on a show that was originally created for television."
More accepting might be an overstatement on Dina's part. I mean one in three finds banners most favorable and one in seven like pre-rolls most. As I said, the prior are least intrusive and the latter, don't break up the viewing experience. I don't know if you can truly be optimistic about those numbers.
I personally am thankful for the free content I watch online and I understand that without ads much of it wouldn't be possible. So I'm accepting of some ads, but a fraction of what I see on TV because I know the budgets are a fraction of those and so all things in proportion right?
Finally, the report shows the average viewer of a web series is 33-years-old, college-educated (60%) and almost evenly divided between men (51%) and women (49%).