The good folks at Facebook and Twitter can rest easy, the fact that online video watching edged out social networking in a recent survey by Pew Internet and American Life Project is just a testament to how wildly popular online video watching has recently become. According to the survey 62 percent of American, adult Internet users said they watched online video on sites like YouTube compared to 46 percent who said they were active on social networking sites.
More fuel will soon be added to this surge in online video watching as more content providers latch on to an already booming space. With more people cutting back on their cable subscriptions, 23 percent who watch TV and movies online are connecting their computers to their TVs and bringing web video into their living rooms. Big name content providers are taking notice and are positioning themselves to take advantage of this trend.
Netflix, through its “Watch Instantly” feature, already offers access to 12,000+ TV shows and movies on a variety of devices from content providers such as Disney, CBS and MTV Networks. Multichannel News wrote a story a few days ago of a rumor that “Netflix’s ‘Watch Instantly’ streaming service will soon be offered on Apple iPhones and iPod touch devices and the Nintendo Wii gaming console.” 1
YouTube recently decided to add a feature called “News Near You,” where they use the Internet address of a visitor’s computer to determine the user’s location, and if any “news outlet partners” are located in a 100 mile radius. If so, news sources that have agreed to become video suppliers display seven days of local videos. The site is promoting videos from ABC News, Associated Press and Reuters.
CBS, HBO, and Cinemax have all recently agreed to participate in Comcast’s “On Demand Online” trial (part of Time Warner’s “TV Everywhere” initiative) by providing online content to its subscriber base. “The trial is aimed at testing out authentication technology which asks pay-TV subscribers to identify themselves before allowing access to online content at sites such as Comcast.net.”
In an interview Tuesday, Quincy Smith, chief executive of CBS Interactive said, “The company thinks of this deal as a way to extend the broadcast universe online by marrying the reach and frequency of the broadcast business with the ROI metrics of the online world.” 2 This is a way to extend the TV economics online. The other three major TV Networks, Fox, NBC and ABC, are already providing shows and movies through online service Hulu.
Whew! That’s a lot of online content coming our way (Even BurrellesLuce is getting in on the act — We recently announced the addition of robust online video to our monitoring set). It certainly will be interesting to watch how all of this unfolds over the next year or two. This 24/7 smorgasbord of online videos is sure to cause a little indigestion, so please practice moderation and remember to unplug every now and then and read a book… Sorry, eBooks, using Kindle, don’t count.