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Study: YouTube Users Eschew DVD, TV, Ads

30 Jan, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

About 32% of frequent visitors to YouTube said they are watching less television and 73% indicated they would stop visiting the popular community Web site if it started implementing advertising into its reported 70 million daily video stream views.

The results from a study by Harris Interactive found that 66% of 2,309 respondents who visit YouTube said they regularly sacrificed other activities to visit the site, including 20% who stopped email and other online social networking, 19% who reduced the amount of time devoted to homework, video games (15%), watching DVDs (12%) and spending times with family and friends (12%).

“It has really emerged as a major force in, and problem for, the traditional entertainment industry,” said Aongus Burke, senior research manager of Harris Interactive's media & entertainment practice. “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.”

The study found that 76% of males (69% of females) ages 18 to 24 (a highly coveted demographic among marketers) watched videos on YouTube compared to entertainment sites, including from TV networks (37% for males, 32% for females).

This would appear to contradict network research that found Internet sites streaming content related to prime-time TV programming enhanced the TV viewing experience.

“We have found that a small incremental number of viewers would watch online instead of on the TV,” Vivi Zigler, EVP of digital entertainment and new media for NBC Universal, told an entertainment panel last week. “About three times more will watch a show again on the Web or watch a missed episode, special effect or clue they missed on the TV broadcast. TV viewership has actually increased.”

Indeed, Burke said research indicated that among adult respondents (over 25) 41% said they had watched a video on a TV network site compared to 42% who watched video on YouTube.

“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,” said Burke. “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.”

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