The audience for online video sharing sites like YouTube and Google Video continues to grow swiftly across all demographic groups, far outpacing the adoption rates of many other internet activities. Fully 62% of adult internet users have watched a video on these sites, up from just 33% who reported this in December 2006. Online video watching among young adults is near-universal; nine in ten (89%) internet users ages 18-29 now say they watch content on video sharing sites, and 36% do so on a typical day.
Over time, online video has become more deeply integrated into daily life, and has started move into the spaces that are typically reserved for traditional television viewing. Overall, 19% of internet users say they use video sharing sites on a typical day. In comparison, just 8% of internet users reported use of the sites on a typical day in 2006.
Broadband connectivity has helped to set the stage for high-quality viewing experiences and broaden the appeal of online video content. Fully 63% of American adults now have high speed connections running to their homes. Among broadband users, 69% watch video on sharing sites, and 23% do so on a typical day.
Television and movie watching are now an online experience for a third of internet users
While much of the content on video sharing sites is user-generated, there is also a growing archive of professional content available through YouTube and newer network-sponsored video portals like Hulu. Efforts to lure viewers to these portals appear to be paying off, as more than a third of internet users (35%) now say they have viewed a television show or movie online. In comparison, just 16% of internet users said they had watched or downloaded movies or TV shows when asked a similar question in 2007.
As internet users become accustomed to regular on-demand video viewing online, many are choosing to watch from the comfort of their couch. Among those who watch TV shows or movies online, 23% say they have connected their computer to a television screen so they could view video from the internet on their TV. That amounts to roughly 8% of all internet users.
These findings, which come from an April 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, illustrate the pervasiveness of online video and mark an important moment in the evolution of America’s television and movie viewing habits.
The use of video sharing sites currently outranks many other headline-snatching internet pastimes among American adults. Watching online videos on sites like YouTube is more prevalent than the use of social networking sites (46% of adult internet users are active on such sites), podcast downloading (19% of internet users do this) and the use of status updating sites like Twitter (11% of internet users do this).