Trend watch: People watching less television, more online video

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
SStein

Two statistics from the Canadian market caught my eye last week that both speak to a trend: People are consuming more video content than ever… but it’s not on their television. First, ComScore released its findings that Canadians watch the most online videos in the world (out of markets being tracked). In October of this year, Canadians viewed an average of upwards of 300 online videos. Americans came in second at 286 videos, making North Americans the most avid video consumers.

Second, there is evidence that more Canadians than ever are cutting the cord on their TV subscription packages, following the American trend that has been ongoing for several years now. 100,000 Canadian households opted out of their cable or satellite television subscription this year, and as many or more are expected to do so next year — the tip of what is likely to be a very large iceberg.

People are consuming more video than ever, but in different ways. They’re searching and streaming it, or viewing it on demand, instead of subscribing to it. People are streaming or viewing their favourite television shows online, catching up on missed episodes or streaming on an on-demand basis. We’ll probably see more people watching TV on their mobile devices, though data rates will need to come down significantly before this happens.

What does this mean for businesses? People are changing their habits, and the advertisers are following them. I think we’ll see more money shifted from television to online video advertising in 2012. YouTube became the second largest search engine in the world after Google last March. Google, which owns YouTube, is making more options available to marketers in the channel.

As for marketers themselves, they’re focusing more on SEO for video content than ever before. It’s clear that North Americans still want to be entertained, and are still looking to television content to entertain them – but via different channels. There’s still an audience out there, but companies will have to innovate in order to reach them.

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