The growth of online video is being driven by a combination of trends. Growing broadband penetration rates has created a mass market for online video. Cheap digital cameras and cell phone cameras make it easy to create digital video. Low cost digital production equipment and editing software (often a PC or Mac with free or low cost software) makes it easy to produce digital video, and inexpensive online video services and web sites make it easy to distribute and share online video. The combination has resulted in an online video boom.
Internet market research firm comScore recenly released their May Internet online video usage numbers. Key quote from their press release:
".... nearly 75 percent of U.S. Internet users watched an average of 158 minutes of online video per user during the month."
YouTube was the most popular source of online video and the average length of a watched video was 2.5 minutes. If you are interested in an example, Beyonce's much watched fall can be viewed here.
Pew Internet also recently released an online video study, with similar numbers in terms of usage given that Pew surveyed online adults and comScore covers all online users (teens and pre-teens watch a lot of online video). The Pew study also points out how viral online video is. Key quote from the study summary:
"More than half of online video viewers (57%) share links to the video they find with others, and three in four (75%) say they receive links to watch video that others have sent to them."
The growth and viral nature of online video is starting to impact local advertising, which I've posted on in the past and written about in our reports. Online video is also starting to be used for internal communications. While most small businesses still do not need for online video, it is starting to become an important part of the marketing mix for a wide variety of small businesses.