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Streaming Media East -- More and More Video

My strongest take-away from the Streaming Media East 2008 show last week is that video is really taking off on the Internet.


I know ... that's a "D'oh!" kind of statement -- but bear with me.

Of course, it's obvious that sites like YouTube have become amazingly popular -- comScore reports as of March that YouTube was the top video site, with 84.8 million viewers watching 4.3 billion videos (that's 50.4 videos per viewer!):

"Google Sites once again ranked as the top U.S. video property with more than 4.3 billion videos viewed (38 percent share of all videos), gaining 2.6 share points versus the previous month. YouTube.com accounted for 98 percent of all videos viewed at Google Sites. Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 477 million videos (4.2 percent), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 328 million (2.9 percent) and Viacom Digital with 249 million (2.2 percent)."

And the numbers keep growing: comScore's March numbers show U.S. Internet users viewed 11.5 billion online videos during the month -- a 13 percent gain in one month and a 64 percent gain over the past year:

  • Nearly 139 million U.S. Internet users viewed online video in March
        or 73.7 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience
  • U.S. Internet users watched an average of 83 videos per viewer
  • The average online video duration was 2.8 minutes.
  • The average online video viewer watched 235 minutes of video

But this online video thing is not just about stupid viral videos and stolen clips on YouTube, this is a mass migration of entertainment content becoming available on the Web.

Content companies are opening their vaults to provide free (ad-supported) access to movies and TV shows online. According to Nielson, the recent Hulu joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp. has quickly grown to be the top network site. Hulu includes material from more than 50 top broadcast networks, cable networks, movie studios and web-centric content providers. And CBS.com is now offering a "couple hundred" shows, deep into its archives.

Social media sites are also exploding -- As of January, Akamai was delivering more than 1 million requests per second for social media sites. And comScore's March report saw 47.7 million viewers watching 400 million videos on MySpace alone (8.4 videos per viewer).

Finally, beyond all this consumer excitement, CDN (Content Delivery Network) companies I spoke to at the show also see expanding use of video in non-entertainment and corporate sites -- as an important part of a web presence. All of which will continue to drive growing demand for video bandwith.

And it's not just low-res "web" video -- A recent survey from Akamai and Broadband Directions reports that nearly 75 percent of leading broadcasters said they have plans to offer high-definition video content to their online audiences, half within the next 12 months.

Says Tim Napoleon, chief strategist, Media & Entertainment, at Akamai: "Even six months ago, a 500 or 700 kbps bitrate was pushing it. Now while 500-700 kbps is more of the norm, we're seeing companies really pushing the envelope with 1.5 to 2 Mbps and HD, in the ranges of up to 6 megabits per second bitrates."

Or as Homer would say, "Woohoo!"

See the StreamingMedia.com site for show coverage and podcasts.

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This entry posted on May 27, 2008.

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