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Digital Video Consumption Increased in U.S.

Online digital video consumption is a mainstream activity in the U.S. -- 67 percent of online Americans have now streamed or downloaded digital video content, according to the latest market study by Ipsos.

While YouTube continues to dominate the short video clip market and iTunes continues to do brisk business via downloads, the streaming of longer running content -- such as TV shows and movies -- has become more popular due to sites such as Hulu and Netflix.

The growth of Hulu in particular has been rapid -- only 9 percent of digital video users were aware of Hulu in September 2008; today, its awareness is 41 percent.

iTunes also posted growth for digital video during this time frame, and YouTube keeps extending its reach. At the same time, the visibility of MySpace as a digital video source has dimmed somewhat recently.

"The increase in usage across multiple sites confirms that Americans are watching a greater breadth of digital video than ever before," explains Brian Pickens, Senior Research Manager at Ipsos MediaCT.

As a result of this growth, advertisers and marketers need to be prepared to reach these key individuals no matter where they choose to consume their video. Therefore, consumer willingness to accept advertising within the online digital video medium is paramount.

A positive sign for marketers is that a clear majority of digital video users feel it is reasonable to have advertising embedded in both online full-length TV shows and movies, as long as the content remains free-of-charge. These numbers help to illustrate why streaming sites have rapidly increased in popularity over a short time-frame.

It is important to note that digital video users watch almost 15 hours of TV on their traditional television per week -- versus about two hours on their PC. In most cases, digital video users state a strong preference for viewing video content on their televisions.

With professionally produced content now available through online websites, consumers may be poised to adopt solutions that facilitate the connected living room scenario. There is a desire to combine the readily available online video content and the television viewing experience.

Pickens concludes, "Despite the onslaught of video choices online, Americans remain happy with their TVs and HDTVs. However, Americans also enjoy the immediate gratification of digital video content accessible online, and creating an easy and affordable way to bridge the gap from online video to the TV would allow consumers to enjoy the best of both worlds."

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