Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Who Are Heavy Video Viewers?

Heavy user segments are not news to marketers—virtually every product category has them. Heavy usage continues to demonstrate the universal application of the 80/20 rule. A recent study conducted by comScore and the Media Contacts unit of Havas Media and reported in Marketing Charts shows that it also applies to video viewing. Only 20% of heavy video viewers account for a huge portion of the use—140 times that of light users!
YouTube reaches 54% of all video users (3.3 billion videos viewed in December 2007), but heavy users are much more likely to use niche video sites. How many of the rest of us have heard of ouou.com (web television)or MegaVideo (international user-created videos)for example? Less than 99% of us, based on their smaller than 1% penetration, according to comScore. Except for Google/YouTube other video sites aren’t much larger with Fox Interactive and Yahoo! (next largest behind YouTube) each getting only about 3% of the video viewership.

The study identified four video-watching segments and provided some detail about the types of content they prefer and their demographics. The segments are:

Sights & Sounders (over 1/3 of the online video audience) who prefer the variety of television programming as well as its sound quality and screen size. They are light video viewers and are older than the other segments and watch more television.
On Demanders who dislike advertising and who find it difficult to find desirable content but like the convenience of watching video online, especially movies. They are more likely to be heavy viewers and fit the mold of being younger and more affluent and are only a bit less likely to be female than male.
Television Devotees who look to network sites for television shows, especially episodes they missed. They are more likely to be female and watch more television than the other segments.
Content Explorers who like user generated content and surf and search to find videos and tv shows. They have a tendency to be moderate or heavy video viewers and to be female and to be in the desirable 35 to 54 age range.

This echoes findings of a summer 2007 study that found online video having broad appeal to all age segments. Younger viewers were more likely to prefer funny videos while older people are more likely to watch news videos. Media Post describes the segments identified in this study as

Escapists, who compose 30% of the audience, are low-frequency male viewers looking for some type of entertaining distraction. Power users (19%) are heavy users who watch a wide range of video, while news junkettes (24%) are older females who watch a moderate amount of video. Buzzy bees (27%) are young viewers focused on entertainment and viral videos.

There is agreement on one issue: video watching is becoming pervasive among all Internet users. It is no longer a domain solely of the young. However, older vs. younger and, to an extent, male vs. female do have different content preferences. Beyond that, the segments depend on the type of data and probably will continue to do so for a long time. Marketers who want to integrate video into their content or advertising programs will need the assistance of behavioral targeting and their own marketing research for some time to come.
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