Management types call it an inflexion point. In physics, a similar event would be called escape velocity, the speed at which a rocket manages to escape earth’s gravitational pull. We will call 2007 the year of change.
Research company comScore released findings late on last Friday to tell what we perhaps always knew, but wanted confirmation on — online video is the fastest growing sector on the Web. In November 2007, the world watched a phenomenal 9.5 billion videos online, 28.3 per cent higher than September 2007. YouTube alone accounted for 2.9 billion of those, with 29.5 million visitors.
Here’s more: The average number of videos watched per user on YouTube was 39, while the total number watched across various sites was 69. Other video sites such as MySpace.com and Fox Interactive too had high scores. Overall, across the world, online viewers spent 3.25 hours in November watching videos up from 2.5 hours in January the same year. On an average, they spent 2.8 minutes online. <b1>
Compete, another website analytics company, found that several new video sharing sites (including adult video sharing sites) showed growth rates of over 14,000 per cent from December 2006 to December 2007. Another trend: 18 of the top 20 sites belong to the peer-to-peer sharing platform.
Video content is now an integral part of the Web 2.0 trend where person-to-person interaction and information sharing will be the bedrock of the development of the Internet. Facebook, Wordpress, MySpace, YouTube, Orkut… almost every website that is now a household name has sharing as its fundamental philosophy. Video leads the pack because of its sheer ability to connect with viewers.
Clearly, then, online video has now gone beyond a point of no return on the popularity stakes. The story has a great chance of repeating in India with broadband and mobile access becoming mainstream in several urban and semi-urban centres.
Advertisers and media companies, therefore, have a Hobson’s choice this year: Embrace the Web and online video. Else, lose your audience big time.