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BizReport : Advertising : October 19, 2010


Study: 56 million Americans are 'off grid'

When it comes to video content, most brands believe television is the place to be. A new study finds that television may still reign supreme - for now - but that the online space is quickly heating up. The study found that 56 million American consumers, about 1/3 of the total online population in the country are 'off the grid' and watching the bulk of their content online.

by Kristina Knight

What exactly does 'off grid' mean? For the intents of this study, off grid means these consumers aren't tuning in to their television sets each night. For the most part, these 56 million American consumers are watching online video - news highlights, sports clips, online versions of favorite shows and user generated content.

"Getting people to engage in an on-demand world with so much fragmentation is the biggest challenge marketers face today," said Matt Rosenberg, Vice President of Solutions with SAY Media. "We've been delivering engagement for years and this study reconfirms that the best way to reach this audience...is with respectful, content-driven advertising that lets the user be in control."

Dan Greenberg, Co-Founder of Sharethrough says this trend is an opportunity for marketers. "The people who are tuning out television are tuning in to online content - content that doesn't require an hour investment of time. We believe that the advertiser should 'be' the content; brands need to begin creating content that is not interruptive, that tells a story but that can be consumed by people when they want to engage."

Why are they watching online rather than through a television screen? Because online video makes watching more efficient. Rather than cutting short a dinner meeting to see the new episode of "CSI: New York", the viewer can focus on the dinner meeting and watch the episode online at his or her convenience. They don't have to sit through 20 minutes of advertising for a 40 minute drama series, and these consumers are focused on a digital world.

Researchers determined that these consumers have two groupings: On Demand and Opt Out.

On demand viewers:

• Own at least 5 video devices, including iPads or smartphones
• Watch at least 30 hours of video weekly
• Are turned off by repetitive ads
• 50% subscribe to Netflix

Opt out viewers:

• 90% own a television, 13% watch almost exclusively online
• 41% live in urban areas, 30% are between ages 18 and 24
• Consume 21 hours of video content per week

The study was conducted in conjunction with comScore, TRU, IPG Media Lab and SAY Media.

Tags: online video, SAY Media, video advertising, video content










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  • Truly, it's about time consumers gain more control over their entertainment experience. The technologies have evolved to where they can support on demand consumption. I think the challenge for consumers will be integration of the viewing experience, especially when they want to share personal content using settops, TVs, and their personal devices. The market leaders continue to try to grab the market and lock people in to their own solutions. It will be interesting to see how this industry shakes out in the next two to five years.

  • Ray

    Just last week, I cut my Dish Network(loved it, just don't want to pay) off and have gone to online only with the following setup:

    Two tvs, two apple tvs, a ps3, a 20/mbs connection, hulu plus, and netflix...we also have two ipads

    I haven't missed anything and can't wait for air play.

  • You're right, Carol. There is a lot of space in video for smaller and mid-sized brands. I wasn't surprised by the fact that people aren't watching traditional TV -- in my family it's impossible to sit down at 8pm, for example, to watch a show. We watch more online, through DVR, etc. I'm glad to see so many people turning to online video options and so many brands taking the chance at video, too.




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