An April 2009 survey released by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project this week, reports that the number of adult Internet users who watch videos online has nearly doubled since 2006. The report, based on a daily tracking survey of Americans’ Internet usage since 2006, finds that 62% of all Internet users have watched a YouTube video or a Hulu clip in their lifetimes, up from 33% three years ago.
A whole 89% of Internet users aged 18-29 have seen video on those video sites, and 36% do so on a typical day. Older folks are starting to indulge, as well. Among those surveyed between the ages of 50-64, 41% have watched videos on sites like YouTube, up from 34% last year.
The rise in online video viewing is certainly linked to the rise in quality video sites, like Hulu. Hulu delivered 373.3 million video streams in April of this year, topping its April 2008 traffic by a whopping 490.4 percent. This June, the popular video site surpassed NBC, FOX and ABC’s websites in traffic for the first time. While many video sharing sites provide user-generated content, Hulu and other network-sponsored video portals attract users with a growing archive of professional content.
Improved broadband connectivity supports a smoother viewing experience, and makes the prospect of watching tv shows and movies online more appealing. Today 63% of American adults have high speed connections running to their homes. Economics seem to factor in as well. Pew reports that 22% of American adults say they have cut back on their cable or television services over the last year, but only 9% have cut back on their internet service. As Americans cut their TV services in order to save money, broadband internet, it seems, becomes an increasingly significant means of entertainment.