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Why Advertisers Want to Reach Video Viewers

While Americans still enjoy their TVs for watching television programming and DVDs, it appears that online video offerings accessed on the PC are popular with mainstream America as well.

At the end of 2006, well over half (58 percent) of Americans age 12 or older with Internet access had streamed some form of video content online, according to Ipsos Research. This translates to 44 percent of the overall U.S. population age 12 or older having ever streamed a digital video file off of the Internet -- or approximately 100 million Americans.

Over one in four (28 percent) Americans age 12+ have downloaded a digital video file, with a significant amount of overlap between these two types of digital video formats -- so many consumers who stream video also experiment with downloading video online.

Among those that stream video online, teens and young adults are the most likely to do so -- three in four of all teens age 12-17, and young adults age 18-24, in the U.S. have already streamed digital video content online.

The demographic of the typical video streamer skews younger, and they are more likely to have higher incomes, and be highly educated -- even more so than others with Internet access. When compared to those without Internet access, the differences are even more profound. As a result, the streaming market is key to delivering the audience that advertisers desire the most.

This desirable audience appears to increasingly be watching digital video on their PC or on a portable device, while ignoring more traditional ways to view and acquire video content. Today, teens and young adults, on average, have stored 20 percent of their entire video library either digitally (stored on a hard drive) and/or have burned this content onto DVD-R.

So, while this still means most video libraries consist of purchased DVDs or are on VHS cassettes, the size of consumer's digital video libraries will continue to grow as the digital streaming and downloading market matures.

Among the various types of video streams offered online, shorter video clips, such as those found on video file sharing sites like YouTube, are by far the most preferred type of video. In fact, three quarters of all digital video streamers have streamed short news or sports clips, while two thirds have streamed independent (user generated) video clips.

The popularity of short video clips has been driven by the universal appeal of YouTube, as roughly 40 percent of those that have streamed or downloaded video content have accessed this site. Other video file sharing sites such as MySpace and Google Video are also common destinations for video streamers, with about one in five having accessed these two sites overall.

Most Americans have never streamed or downloaded a full-length TV show or movie. However, despite the relatively low prevalence levels among U.S. adults today, many appear to find the idea appealing -- 43 percent of all active video viewers express an interest in downloading full length movies in the near future, while 38 percent express interest in full length TV show downloads.

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