Here's some news that should get the attention of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and anyone else trying to sell video content to the online masses: most of them are willing to pay for it. A new report from Elastic Path shows that the video-consuming public is more open to paying for their preferred content than most of us previously believed, and makes strong recommendations for experimentation and study to companies looking to sell video online.
Elastic Path is a provider of enterprise e-commerce software and consulting, with a client list that includes Time Inc., Symantec, and Virgin Media. They conducted a study aimed at discovering consumer attitudes and motivations related to online video, and surveyed adults over 18 who had watched or bought video content online in the past year. Additionally, respondents had to own one of the following: laptop or desktop computer, smartphone, iPad or other tablet computer, connected TV, game console connected to a TV, internet video receiver box connected to a TV, or an internet enabled Blu-ray player connected to a TV.
Here are the main findings:
More Than Half Watch Online Video Weekly
53% of the respondents said they watched or downloaded online video at lest once a week. 22% once every 2-3 weeks, and 11% once a month. All combined, that's 86% watching online video at least once a month or more.
Device Ownership Is Diversifying, Usage Is Not
When asked about ownership of the following video-viewing devices, the respondents' answers broke down like this:
- Laptop/Deskip 97%
- Game Console 46%
- Smart Phone 33%
- Internet-Connected TV 18%
- Internet-Connected Blu-Ray Player 12%
- iPad or tablet 8%
- Roku/Apple TV/set-top box 7%
That's pretty amazing. Look at all those different ways you can engage with online video. Unfortunately, we're not using most of these new devices for that purpose, as the survey showed. Here's the breakdown when asked about which devices are used for specifically watching video:
- Laptop/Desktop 93%
- Smart Phone 15%
- Game Console 13%
- Internet-Connected TV 7%
- Internet-Connected Blu-Ray Player 5%
- iPad or tablet 5%
- Roku/Apple TV/set-top box 4%
It's interesting to note how smart phones jump over game consoles when it comes to using them for video--mobile video is on the rise, as we know. Oh look... the iPad is only used by 5% of respondents for watching video... how curious. The obvious conclusion is that we're still a long way off from all of these new methods for accessing the Internet being embraced by the masses for video purposes. I think it's inevitable, of course, but I wonder how many years it will be before this list is reversed, and laptops become the least-used method for watching videos.
People Love Free Video Content
As obvious as it might sound, consumers tend to seek out free video, with only 40% of respondents having purchased video in the last year.
But, They're Willing To Pay For The Right Video Content
75% of respondents said they would consider paying for, or had already paid for, online movie content. That's pretty astounding. At least until you find out that only 30 of that 75% actually have done so. Here's the full breakdown between the have-paid consumers, the would-consider-paying folks, and the would-never-pay people. It's not nearly as rosy a picture as the "75% Willing To Pay For Online Video" makes it sound:
There's a lot more to the report, mostly involving ways that online video sellers can make their content more worthy of consumers' dollars. There is some data suggesting viewers are more willing to buy when doing so helps them avoid advertisements. Allowing people to preview content prior to purchase is encouraged, as is the creation of video for emerging devices and customized offerings for Generation Y--the most active online viewing demographic .
But the bottom line is... no one really knows yet how to turn these hesitant-but-willing viewers into actual paying customers. Most of these viewing devices are still so young that the whole landscape is uncharted territory. And online video itself is still pretty young too. What's not up for debate is the fact that users are hungrier than ever for online video of all varieties. Those who wish to sell content to those consumers still have a long way to go in discovering the magic formula that gets them to buy.