Bill Hartzer

Harris Interactive Says YouTube Users are Watching Less TV to Watch Videos Online

According to the results of a Harris Poll released today, one third of frequent YouTube users are watching less television to watch videos online. The same Harris Poll says that YouTube users do not want to see advertisements before they watch videos. What’s interesting to note is a statement by Harris Interactive:

If YouTube is considering airing ads before its videos, they may be advised to halt that thinking; 73 percent of frequent YouTube users say they would visit the site less if it started including short video ads before every clip.

Maybe CNN should take note of this, as it’s standard for CNN to require that you watch an ad before you watch their video online. Here’s more information about the results of this recent Harris Interactive poll from their official press release today:

Few vehicles are as effective at reaching large segments of the population as television, a fact that has established it as the favored medium for advertisers in many product categories. For as long as that has been the case, however, TV networks and advertisers have been fearful of emerging competitors and technologies that threaten their route into consumers’ minds. From the remote control to the Digital Video Recorder (DVR), there have long been predictions that live TV and its embedded advertisements were going to be adversely affected by consumers’ ability to bypass commercials. More recently, a different kind of threat has emerged from YouTube, the Internet’s response to one-stop digital video viewing.

Recent research by Harris Interactive(R) suggests that this fear may indeed be warranted. Over four in 10 (42%) online U.S. adults say they have watched a video at YouTube, and 14 percent say they visit the site frequently. Almost one in three (32%) of these frequent YouTube users say they are watching less TV as a result of the time they spend there. However, YouTube has its own set of challenges as it tries to monetize the viewer traffic it has amassed. If YouTube is considering airing ads before its videos, they may be advised to halt that thinking; 73 percent of frequent YouTube users say they would visit the site less if it started including short video ads before every clip.

These are just some of the results of a recent Harris Poll of 2,309 U.S. adults (ages 18 and older), of whom 363 are frequent YouTube viewers, conducted online by Harris Interactive between December 12 and 18, 2006.

YouTube Viewers
Of all frequent YouTube users, two-thirds (66%) claim they are sacrificing other activities when on YouTube. Although their visits to the site are most likely to have been at the expense of visiting other websites (36%), time spent watching TV is next most likely to have taken a hit (32%). YouTube also cuts into email and other online social networking (20%), work/homework (19%), playing video games (15%), watching DVD(s) (12%) and even spending time with friends and family in person (12%).

Further compounding the problem for the TV and advertising, YouTube usage is greatest among the group already hardest to reach through television advertising: young males. Over three-quarters (76%) of 18 to 24 year old males say they have watched a video at YouTube, and 41 percent visit YouTube frequently.

Advertising on YouTube
However, YouTube faces challenges of its own as it tries to cash in on the house that it has built. When asked if the inclusion of short commercials before every clip would change how often they will visit YouTube, nearly three-quarters of adults who frequently visit the site say they would visit it a lot (31%) or a little (42%) less often as a result.

Indeed, in the last year, TV networks have successfully experimented with airing of TV episodes with commercials on their websites. Nearly as many online adults (41%) say they have watched a video at a TV network website as they have at YouTube (42%). It seems like TV networks can get away with advertising more easily.

TABLE 1
ONLINE VIDEO VIEWERSHIP
“Have you ever watched videos online from any of the following places?”

Base: U.S. adults

Ages Ages Ages Ages Ages Ages
18 to 25 to 30 to 40 to 50 to 65 and
Adults 24 29 39 49 64 over
% % % % % % %
Yes 74 85 87 76 78 62 56
YouTube 42 73 55 44 45 23 13
Television network (e.g.
ABC.com) 41 35 51 39 47 39 31
News site (e.g. CNN.com) 35 27 40 36 42 32 32
Yahoo 25 30 33 26 29 18 13
Google 24 38 30 22 24 19 14
MySpace 19 45 33 19 16 7 3
iTunes 7 16 9 8 5 3 1
Somewhere else 19 19 15 24 19 17 16
No, I have never watched
a video online 26 15 13 24 22 38 44

Note: Multiple-response question

TABLE 2
ONLINE VIDEO VIEWERSHIP
“Have you ever watched videos online from any of the following places?”

Base: U.S. adults

Ages Ages Ages Ages Ages
18 to 25 to 35 to 50 to 65 and
Males 24 34 49 64 over
% % % % % %
Yes 77 86 85 81 66 66
YouTube 47 76 53 53 29 15
Television network (e.g.
ABC.com) 43 37 47 49 40 36
News site (e.g. CNN.com) 38 28 46 41 33 39
Yahoo 31 37 33 35 25 17
Google 31 50 31 28 25 19
MySpace 20 41 25 20 10 3
iTunes 8 17 9 8 4 1
Somewhere else 24 24 29 25 20 18
No, I have never watched
a video online 23 14 15 19 34 34

Note: Multiple-response question

TABLE 3
ONLINE VIDEO VIEWERSHIP
“Have you ever watched videos online from any of the following places?”

Base: U.S. female adults

Ages Ages Ages Ages Ages
18 to 25 to 35 to 50 to 65 and
Females 24 34 49 64 over
% % % % % %
Yes 70 85 85 70 58 45
YouTube 36 69 52 33 17 9
Television network (e.g.
ABC.com) 38 32 47 38 37 24
News site (e.g. CNN.com) 32 25 35 37 31 23
Yahoo 18 20 28 20 11 8
Google 17 22 23 17 12 9
MySpace 18 49 28 13 4 3
iTunes 6 15 9 4 2 2
Somewhere else 14 12 11 17 14 13
No, I have never watched
a video online 30 15 15 30 42 55

Note: Multiple-response question

TABLE 3
TIME SPENT ON YOUTUBE
“About how much time do you spend on YouTube?”

Base: U.S. adults having ever watched a video on YouTube

YouTube Viewers
%
Uses YouTube Frequently 33
More than 2 hours a week 2
1-2 hours per week 7
I’m there frequently, but less
than 1 hour per week 24
I’ve only visited YouTube once
or a few times 67

TABLE 4
SPENDING LESS TIME DOING OTHER THINGS AS RESULT OF TIME SPENT AT YOUTUBE
“If you are spending time at YouTube, you may be spending less time doing

other things. Which of these are you spending less time doing as a result of

spending time at YouTube?”

Base: U.S. adults frequently viewing YouTube

Frequent YouTube Viewers
%
Spending Less Time 66
Using other websites 36
Watching TV 32
Emailing, chatting online, blogging, etc 20
Working or doing homework 19
Playing video games 15
Spending time in person with friends/family 12
Watching videos on DVD 12
Reading magazines/newspapers 11
Talking to other people on the phone 9
Going to the movies 7
Exercise 1
Other 2
I don’t think I’m spending less time doing anything
because of my time at YouTube 34

Note: Multiple-response question

TABLE 5

COMMERCIALS’ IMPACT ON VISITING YOUTUBE “If YouTube were to include short commercials before every clip, how would it

change how often you visit YouTube?”

Base: U.S. adults frequently viewing YouTube

Frequent YouTube Viewers
%
I would visit YouTube a lot less 31
I would visit YouTube a little less 42
It wouldn’t change how often I visit YouTube 21
Not sure 6

Harris Poll Methodology
The Harris Poll(R) was conducted online within the United States between December 12 and 18, 2006 among 2,309 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 363 are frequent YouTube viewers. Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting.

With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite “margin of error” for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided.

With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 363 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 5.6 percentage points and +/- 3 percentage points, respectively. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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