Online Video User Segments’ Viewing Behavior Varies Widely

February 14, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Agency Business | Broadcast & Cable | Media & Entertainment | Television | Women | Youth & Gen X

Heavy viewers of online video watch 11 times as much online video as moderate viewers – and140 times as much as light viewers, according to a proprietary study by comScore and Media Contacts, the global interactive media network of Havas Media.

The research was designed to understand the consumption habits and mindsets of internet video users as they relate to online video, TV, and advertising and content across both media.

The heaviest viewers (top 20% of viewers) averaged 841 minutes of online viewing per month, while moderate viewers (next 30%) averaged 77 minutes, and the lightest viewers (bottom 50%) watched just 6 minutes each, the study found:


“The difference in consumption levels was astounding. The usage differences are reminiscent of the early days of the Internet,” said Jarvis Mak, VP of Research and Insight at Media Contacts. “However, the networks’ online distribution of first-run content will go a long way to bridging the gaps between heavy, moderate, and light viewers.”

Additional findings from the study follow.

Heavy viewers spend time on niche video sites

YouTube is the common thread among the heavy, moderate, and light segments – it is the top video site for all three and reaches the most overall video viewers (54% reach).

Distinctive behavior for heavy video viewers is found by looking at the top indexing sites for this audience, revealing mostly niche video-sharing sites, each reaching less than 1% of the total US Web population:


Moderate viewers enjoy specific online TV content

Moderate viewers show a high propensity to view specific video content on broadcast TV sites, including WorldNow (ABC), CBS TV Local, ABC Daytime, Scripps TV, and CMT, rather than frequenting more general video-sharing sites:


Light Online video viewers are heavy TV viewers

Despite conventional wisdom that the heaviest users of the digital channel are likely to be the heaviest consumers of media, the study found that it was light online video viewers are actually heavier TV consumers:

  • Some 46% of light online video viewers say they watch more than 13 hours of TV per week.
  • By comparison, just 39% of moderate video viewers and 30% of heavy video viewers watched the same amount of TV.

Proprietary Segmentation

“To discover how best to reach and message online different kinds of video viewers, we used the comScore data to further develop proprietary segments: ‘Content Explorers,’ ‘On Demanders,’ ‘Sight & Sounders,’ and ‘Television Devotees,’ ” Mak said.

A thumbnail sketch of those segments, per Mediaweek:

  • On Demanders: 30% more likely to a heavy video users, mainly 18-34-year-old group, tends to use DVRs and video on demand; 89% say inclined to pay for content to avoid ads.
  • Sight & Sounders: The 55 and over demographic, generally unimpressed with video content and video ads; almost half have been watching online video for less than a year, most prefer TV.
  • Television Devotees: Female-skewing, frequently use the web to catch up on TV viewing, fans of broadcast and cable networks’ web offerings; say online video ads are fine.
  • Content Explorers: “Platform agnostic,” will watch all sort of content on the web; interestingly, they fall in the 35-54, higher income category.
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