One-Third of Frequent YouTube Users are Watching Less TV to Watch Videos Online
YouTube users also do not want to see advertisements before they watch videos
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – January 29, 2007 ¯ Few vehicles are as effective at reaching large segments of the population as television, a fact that has established it as the favored medium for advertisers in many product categories. For as long as that has been the case, however, TV networks and advertisers have been fearful of emerging competitors and technologies that threaten their route into consumers’ minds. From the remote control to the Digital Video Recorder (DVR), there have long been predictions that live TV and its embedded advertisements were going to be adversely affected by consumers’ ability to bypass commercials. More recently, a different kind of threat has emerged from YouTube, the Internet’s response to one-stop digital video viewing.
Recent research by Harris Interactive® suggests that this fear may indeed be warranted. Over four in 10 (42%) online U.S. adults say they have watched a video at YouTube, and 14 percent say they visit the site frequently. Almost one in three (32%) of these frequent YouTube users say they are watching less TV as a result of the time they spend there. However, YouTube has its own set of challenges as it tries to monetize the viewer traffic it has amassed. If YouTube is considering airing ads before its videos, they may be advised to halt that thinking; 73 percent of frequent YouTube users say they would visit the site less if it started including short video ads before every clip.
These are just some of the results of a recent Harris Poll of 2,309 U.S. adults (ages 18 and older), of whom 363 are frequent YouTube viewers, conducted online by Harris Interactive between December 12 and 18, 2006.
Of all frequent YouTube users, two-thirds (66%) claim they are sacrificing other activities when on YouTube. Although their visits to the site are most likely to have been at the expense of visiting other websites (36%), time spent watching TV is next most likely to have taken a hit (32%). YouTube also cuts into email and other online social networking (20%), work/homework (19%), playing video games (15%), watching DVD(s) (12%) and even spending time with friends and family in person (12%).
Further compounding the problem for the TV and advertising, YouTube usage is greatest among the group already hardest to reach through television advertising: young males. Over three-quarters (76%) of 18 to 24 year old males say they have watched a video at YouTube, and 41 percent visit YouTube frequently.
"We know from some of our other data on teens that YouTube is just as popular with them as it is with young adults," says Aongus Burke, Senior Research Manager of Harris Interactive’s Media & Entertainment Practice. "It has really emerged as a major force in, and problem for, the traditional entertainment industry. Not only is YouTube using a lot of their own content to steal the eyeballs they want the most, the site has provided a launching pad to wholly new forms of user-generated video entertainment that are gaining popularity quickly."
Advertising on YouTube
However, YouTube faces challenges of its own as it tries to cash in on the house that it has built. When asked if the inclusion of short commercials before every clip would change how often they will visit YouTube, nearly three-quarters of adults who frequently visit the site say they would visit it a lot (31%) or a little (42%) less often as a result.
"To be fair," says Burke, "as far as we know, YouTube has never publicly said that they are considering including short commercials before the clips on their site. However, we wanted to see how much resistance there would be at that extreme. Apparently, there is a lot."
Indeed, in the last year, TV networks have successfully experimented with airing of TV episodes with commercials on their websites. Nearly as many online adults (41%) say they have watched a video at a TV network website as they have at YouTube (42%). It seems like TV networks can get away with advertising more easily.
"Indeed, we have seen in previous data," says Burke, "that consumers as a rule are not averse to watching commercials online in order to catch an episode of a TV show they would otherwise miss. Yet those who are accustomed to finding and watching everything for free at YouTube may have developed a very different set of expectations for the site."
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.