Convenience and connectivity drive new behaviors

The three-screen media scenario—TV, computer and mobile—is giving way to a multiscreen media reality for consumers. Television screens and programming still command the lion’s share of Americans’ media day. But the internet is having a profound effect on consumers’ viewing habits and the proliferation of devices is altering their viewing behavior.

eMarketer estimates that in 2011, 68.2% of US internet users, or 158.1 million people, will be watching video content online each month. By 2015, that figure will increase to 76% of internet users, or 195.5 million people. In the same period, online video advertising spending will surge from $1.97 billion to $5.71 billion.

“Consumers are not ready to go over the top, but they are edging closer,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “The Video Viewing Audience: Trends for Marketers.” “They care most about convenience, cost and choice, and are interested in viewing options to the extent that they fit in with those demands.”

US Online Video Viewers, 2009-2015 (millions and % of internet users)

Television is still the dominant screen for US viewers, but newer technologies make it easy to timeshift shows to suit consumers’ schedules—even while watching on a TV set. Gaming consoles, present in a majority of households, also facilitate streaming.

eMarketer expects that this year, 69.4 million adults will watch TV shows at least once a month through some type of internet connection, meaning the show could be watched on a TV set, computer screen or mobile device. By 2015, nearly 100 million adults, or 48% of all adult internet users, will do the same.

US Adult Internet Users Who Watch TV Shows Online, 2009-2015

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to advertising around video content, given the myriad devices and demographics that are intersecting,” said Phillips. “Brand marketers need to know their target audiences expect to be entertained with strong creative.”

The full report, “The Video Viewing Audience: Trends for Marketers,” also answers these key questions:

  • How do viewers divide their time between TV, video and the internet?
  • Besides television, which devices are the most popular for watching video, and who is using them?
  • What are the most popular types of video?
  • On which screen is the audience most receptive to video advertising?

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