We can thank the Internet for a lot of things – information, communication, global connectivity – even adult content! But for every good thing that comes out of any technological innovation, there is always a red-eyed monster lurking somewhere out of sight. The “on demand” mentality doesn’t just come from the Internet – there’s on-demand movies and TV via cable/satellite companies, on-demand music via our MP3 players and iPods – even on-demand music via satellite radio in our cars.
But what does the “on demand” mentality mean to the Internet entrepreneur? As users “demand” more and more content, larger stores of photo, video – even audio – content, we must adapt and change our business model to accommodate the needs and desires of our target audience. If you haven’t already, you need to start thinking about implementing a variety of content sources into your web design. With more and more users logging on via high-speed broadband, you will need to offer high-quality video content in order to hold their attention.
This holds true for both mainstream and adult online programs – in the long run it pays to include video options whenever possible. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the worth attributed to a well-placed, high-quality video! Everyone has video – from news to sports sites, movie previews to homemade stuff. YouTube.com, Hulu.com, CNN.com – the videos found on these sites (and many, many others) are more than just viral – they are everywhere! Everyone loves video – they want it, you’ve got to have it.
A study was released recently by online marketing analysis program eMarketer.com , that took a look at the differences in the way men and women view online video. It turns out men like video content just a little bit more than women do, with 78% of males stating that they regularly use online video content and just 66% of females reporting regular use. What marketers want to do though is get that FEMALE market. Recent studies have shown that by the end of 2007 there will be an estimated 97 million female users online in the US compared to 91 million males.
What do men watch online? The study found that men watch news clips the most overall, as do women, but after that – viewing tastes different greatly. Men enjoy watching amateur videos, music videos and movie previews. Women like them as well, but favored movie previews over music videos.
But what was surprising to experts is that studies prove that women watch more TV than men – so why didn’t women come out on top with Internet video viewing too? Could it be that men are using video for more “adult entertainment” purposes than women are – might that be what put them over the edge?
A Change in Behavior?
In addition to the men vs. women study published by eMarketer.com, the research firm also estimates that in 2007, 123 million Americans will view online video at least once a month, according to an article published in the Wall Street Journal. Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has changed the way that people watch online video. It is widely accepted as a safe environment to view a range of different videos – those of a political nature, and things that are funny, cute, personal, viral and even commercial – YouTube has a little something for everyone.
AOL has even gotten into the video game with its AOL Video. Commercials for the FREE service can be seen on television with a variety of different spokesmen and women pushing YouTube users to take a peek at what AOL is offering. Everyone wants a piece of that pie.
But back to YouTube – the website posted on its website that as of January 2007 it was serving 100 million videos per day with more than 65,000 new videos being uploaded daily. According to statistical analysis company HitWise.com, YouTube videos account for 60% of all videos watched online. The average user spends approximately 17 minutes on average per session on the site – and Nielsen’s NetRatings program puts YouTube at nearly 20 million UNIQUE users per month.
Other studies show that the online video trend, due in part to broadband video and video-on-demand through TV, mobile video, etc. will continue to rise. In fact, revenues from pay TV, mobile video, DVD, broadband video and theater/box office receipts combined will reach a staggering $277 billion by 2010 – up from just under $200 billion total in 2006, according to the iSuppli Corporation .
Experts say that the $77 billion increase will be due in a large part from pay-video services via mobile, broadband and on-demand video. Also, increased use of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) via broadband as a pay-TV type service will also increase. IPTV is currently the fastest-growing segment of the pay-TV market. Experts estimate that revenues will increase to $23.5 billion by 2010 rising at an annual growth rate of 103% from a mere $681 million in 2005.
But it’s not just the video sales and per-download costs that are rising… Advertising revenues from free-view videos and other no-cost services via providers racked up another $170 billion in 2006 – that’s more than just a trend, that’s a MONSTER trend!
Video – On Demand!
Because more and more people are watching video online, and because more and more people have broadband or high-speed access than they did just a few short years ago, the demand for video has also largely increased. As a website developer, you need to stay on top of fast-moving trends – but the video trend has been a slow, freight train a coming for a few years now… industry experts predicted it, seminar speakers warned of it – did you prepare?
Ensuring that you have not just video – but high quality video – on your website, in your membership area and on your teaser pages is more important than you might guess. Sure there are those who still like to look at photos and read erotic stories, but the video age is here to stay, and unfortunately those picture-lookers and story-readers are more of a niche demographic already at this stage.
But just because a majority of your audience will have broadband access and better-qualified equipment at their disposal does not mean that it’s OK to just ignore the dial-up crowd. Offering high- and low-speed options, as well as offering format options, is a great way to make sure you are meeting the needs of your entire customer base – and not just a tiny portion of it. Consumers aren’t just demanding video they are demanding that it be given to them in the format they prefer the most – and that they be able to watch it with full blown high-speed, a shaky weather-ridden connection or even a miserable dial-up when they are traveling or at home.
And they don’t just want online video versions of adult DVD titles… nope – it couldn’t be that easy. Viewers demand interactive personal videos from amateurs on solo girl sites, enjoy seeing video blogs from top porn stars and just eat up interviews or anything else that shows adult performers in candid girl or guy “next door” mode – they LOVE it. So depending upon your site – mostly depending upon your target audience – you will need to ensure that you not only have video, but that you have the video your audience wants to see – their video on demand.
The Mainstream/Adult Crossover
One of the most interesting things about the ways that online video has changed users is the way it has integrated mainstream users with adult content seeking users. On sites like YouTube – or on adult-specific sites like PornoTube.com – users can see homemade videos of amateur video bloggers, spoof videos, etc. right along side more professional videos. In that respect, on both sites you can see mainstream (non-sex) videos as well as sexy amateur videos that range all the way from bikini contests, wet T-shirt contests, Spring Break videos – all the way on up to amateur web cam girls doing sexy stripteases and MORE.
Looking for sexy or funny videos in many ways has become one and the same thing for many online users. Again, this idea might explain why more men are using online video than women – but there could be other reasons as well. Some insiders are saying that their men-to-women ratio has been improving all around with more women buying adult memberships along with adult products than in years past.
This shouldn’t surprise us too much – in fact, a large mainstream/adult crossover has been happening on all media/entertainment fronts. TV has been getting sexier – and we’ve already noted that women watch more TV than men; the Internet is certainly sexy, but sex news in the form of education and “for women” articles have increased as well; and don’t forget sexy videos. There aren’t just bikini-clad women dancing in those YouTube popular videos… there are also a lot of really hot guys strutting their stuff, and posting sexy videos – attracting a lot of female comments and subscriptions.
How Online Video Has Changed US
We’ve gone over a lot of ways that online video has changed business on the web, how its help to shape the ever-changing demographic of online users – even how it helps to educate, entertain and inform its audience. But there are a lot of changes that have happened that we might not want to recognize – such as changes in the way we watch television because of the amount of time we spend watching videos online and chatting with friends via social networks.
One report calls today’s generation Millennials – rather than GenX or GenY – and it says that Millennials are “multi-taskers with cluttered lives, shared attention and a wide array of appliances in their lives.” It notes that television is still one of those appliances used by the Millennium generation, the just use it in a different manner than their parents and generations before them. According to the report, Millennials spend on average 2.48 hours online – the same amount of time spent watching TV and another 2.2 hours a day listening to music.
Watching these patterns, seeing how they evolve – it’s all part of good marketing and research for your business plan. Many companies are racing to stay ahead of the curve – check out the way that Yahoo’s homepage has changed – even AOL and MSN. Today’s users don’t use web portals the way that the previous generation did – they use social networks such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube as their starting points – check out the online video submitted for the day, read subscribed news via RSS feeds and network with friends and even colleagues online.
It’s a wild changing web – and as we shape and mold it we find that it shapes and molds us as well. Where will we be in 5, 10 or even 20 years? It’s hard to say… on the web change is measured in hours, days and weeks – not months, years and decades.
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