Six of 10 Online Adults Watch Online Video, Most Prefer Professional Quality

July 30, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Social Media | Youth & Gen X

Some 57% of online adults have used the internet to watch or download video, and 19% do so on a typical day, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project‘s first major report on online video. Moreover, 74% of broadband users with high-speed connections at home or work watch or download video online.

The growing adoption of broadband, combined with a dramatic push by content providers to promote online video, has helped to pave the way for mainstream audiences to embrace online video viewing, Pew said.


Professional-quality videos are generally preferred to amateur productions, which nevertheless appeal to coveted segments of the young male audience, according to Pew:

  • Overall, 62% of online video viewers say that their favorite videos are those that are “professionally produced.”
  • 19% of online video viewers express a preference for content “produced by amateurs.”
  • Some 11% say they enjoy both professionally produced video and amateur online video equally.
  • Among young adult men, some 43% of online video users express a clear preference for professional video, but 34% say they prefer amateur content.
  • Another 19% of male video viewers ages 18-29 say they enjoy both amateur and professional content equally.

Overall, 27% of online video consumers say they watch or download video from YouTube; of those who watch or download videos from more than one location, 29% say YouTube is the place where they view online video most often. Young adults
are almost twice as likely to point to YouTube as a source for online video: 49% of video viewers age 18-29 say they watch YouTube videos.


Other findings from the Pew report on online video:

  • Most online video viewers participate in some viral component of the medium:
    • More than half (57%) respondents say they share links to the video they find with others, and three in four (75%) say they receive links to watch video that others have sent to them.
    • Overall, just 8% of adult internet users say they have uploaded video content online, while 15% of internet users age 18-29 have contributed video.


  • Young adults also stand out for their unique video viewing preferences:
    • News content is the most popular genre with every age group except for those ages 18-29, 43% of whom say they watch news videos.
    • For young adults, comedy is a bigger draw, with 56% watching humorous videos.
  • In all, the survey asked respondents about 10 types of online video content:
    1. 37% of adult internet users say they watch or download news videos online.
    2. 31% say they watch or download comedy or humorous videos online.
    3. 22% say they watch or download music videos online.
    4. 22% say they watch or download educational videos online.
    5. 19% say they watch or download animation or cartoons online.
    6. 16% say they watch or download movies or TV shows online.
    7. 15% say they watch or download political videos online.
    8. 14% say they watch or download sports videos online.
    9. 13% say they watch or download commercials or advertisements online.
    10. 6% say they watch or download adult videos online.
  • In addition, 6% of respondents say they watch some other type of video that does not fall into any of these categories.


About the study: Pew Internet & American Life Project surveyed 2,200 adults, age 18 and older, during February 15-March 7, 2007. Some 1,492 of those interviewed were internet users. The Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center.

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