Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 25-07-2011

In what may be a wakeup call to the TV industry, online video is continuing to surge according to the annual Metacafe sponsored study on web-based TV services.

The survey revealed an across the board upward trend in online video watching with marked increases in online video viewing on a daily, weekly and absolute basis.

Moreover, the survey found that among the younger demographic, the online channel was entrenched within daily lives. Just over two-thirds (68%) of 18-34 year olds stated that the PC/laptop is the entertainment device they "can't live without”. This compares with 53% for TV and 39% Moreover, 39% of such online video viewers consider the laptop/PC their primary medium for entertainment, compared with 28% for TV and 14% citing a video game console. In all, this demographic watched 7.8 hours of online video weekly, compared to 5.6 hours per week among all viewers aged 8 to 64.

Overall, 82% have now watched online video content at some time, a 6% year on year rise. Furthermore, nearly a quarter (23%) of people watched online video on a daily basis, nearly double the 2010 figure, and weekly online video watchers are now in the majority (57%).

The other good news was that after logging on, online video viewers were spending more time in front of the screen. The survey forecasts online video consumption to rise by 4% over the next 12 months, raising viewership to new heights. Weekly plus all online video viewers said they watched about an hour more of online video every week (5.6 hours) compared with 2010.

In terms of what people are actually watching online, the survey found that even though short-form consumption remains pivotal to online video culture. Two-thirds (66%) of online video viewers regularly watch premium short-form content, including music videos, movies trailers/clips, TV preview/clips, sports highlights, video game content, comedy sketches, and Web originals. Yet longer form video such as full-length movies and TV are gaining in popularity.

How people access online video is changing with 30% of online video viewers are now watching video on a device other than a laptop. Virtually the same percentage (24/25%) access online TV on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet as they do through their TV set. An additional 34% also expressed an interest in accessing online video through their TV.

"Online video is an increasingly important part of the overall entertainment mix for consumers - especially young male influencers," said Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors who conducted the survey on behalf of Metacafe. "We are in the middle of a fundamental change - from a culture in which the television set and TV programming are the de facto standard to one in which computing devices and Internet programming are ever more important for 18- to 34-year olds and the advertisers who speak to them."

The May 2011 Magid Media Futures survey is available for download on the Magid site.