The Size Of The Average Online Video Has Tripled Since 2003

It’s obvious that the popularity of web videos has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, but what about the videos themselves? According to a new report from Website Optimization, the size of the average video has grown quite substantially as well—both in video size and in duration.

It’s obvious that the popularity of web videos has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, but what about the videos themselves?  According to a new report from Website Optimization, the size of the average video has grown quite substantially as well—both in video size and in duration.

According to Website Optimization’s August 2011 Bandwidth Report, the length of an average web video in 2003 was about 120 seconds long, or about 2 minutes.  By 2010 this number had grown to 270 seconds or about 4 and a half minutes, and this growth is showing no signs of stopping.  Recent developments, such as YouTube’s unlimited upload length and the rise in popularity of web series and long-form content, are likely to lead to a spike in mean video duration.

And it’s not only the length of online videos that’s increasing.  It’s also the size.  The study reports that, “The bitrate and dimensions of the mean web video has grown from 200Kbps in 2003 to 300Kbps in 2010.  So the file size of the mean web video has more than tripled from 2003 to 2010.”

Of course, video sharing site usage is also on the rise, particularly in rural areas.  The study reported that, “rural video sharing site usage more than [tripled] from 2006 to 2011.”

The report suggests that this growth is a direct response to the growth in bandwidth connectivity.  “As bandwidth connectivity grows, so does the size and complexity of the average web site.”  I would add that the duration and complexity of videos also results from a hunger that we all have for new and innovative things.

Not too long ago we were entertained by simple Flash animations like The Hamster Dance.  Then YouTube came along and short, shaky home videos had us entertained.  As the quality and duration has improved we want more and more.  We’re seeing more HTML5 and interactive video and online video is getting more and more complex to fit with out tastes.  As a result, video content is booming, both in viewership and in sheer size.

What’s your take on this rapid growth?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.