I was reading through Surviving the Upfronts in a Cross Media World from comScore and I found some interesting things in it. You’ll recall I did some coverage of the NewFronts and Up fronts already so I thought that some of this information might help you all out in the near future.

The main thing of interest for online video marketers that I dug out of the paper was the fact that pretty much every single online American 25-44 is watching video online. That sort of debunks the myth that it’s all pre-teens watching cats playing pianos, right?

I dug up the 2010 US Census demographic numbers. According to the data, there were 82 million Americans that were 25-44 years old. That’s down nearly 3 million since 2000 but probably because the baby boomers have moved into the 45-64 age group which saw massive growth, 19.5 million.

Now some quick math for these two pieces of information and we have some fairly decent estimates of how many people are watching online video. Check out the numbers in descending order from highest to lowest percentage of the online video viewing population.

25 to 44-Year-Old Online Video Viewers

Around 82.5% of the 25-44 demographics are watching online video It’s a rough estimate based on averaging the two numbers in the first chart and isn’t normalized for difference in population between the two age groups within the demographic. With this number it would mean that there are some 67,761,007 of them. comScore constantly says that there are around 180 million online video viewers in the US. This means that 25-44 year olds make up 37.6% of the US online video viewing audience.

45 to 64-Year-Old Online Video Viewers

In terms of the elder, pre-retirement demographic we see that there are almost 81.5 million of them currently and the percentage of them watching online video is 53.5% roughly (again, there’s probably some variation). That comes out to roughly 43,596,853 or just about 24.2% of the US online video viewing population.

Under 18 Online Video Viewers

There were 74,181,467 Americans under the age of 18. comScore believes that roughly 70% of the 12-17 demographic are watching video online. Since I did all the other numbers I already know that this demographic should make up 19.82% of the total online video viewing audience. If there are 180 million Americans watching online video then this number comes out to 35,676,000 of them. If I take 70% of the US Census number I get about 51.9 million, but again, that number includes those younger than 12. We can subtract 20 million who are listed as “under 5” and then we get 37,786,073 which is pretty close to the expected number.

18 to 24-year-old Online Video Viewers

Here we’ve got a direct comparison here. comScore says that 75% of this demographic watched online video. The US 2010 Census says there were 30,672,088 of them and so it means that 23,004,066 were watching online video. They then make up a mere 12.8% of the total online video viewing audience.

65+ Online Video Viewers

Another direct comparison number. The 2010 US Census says there were 40,267,984 Americans in this demographic, comScore says 25% watch online video. That comes out to 10,066,996 or just 5.6%.

The Break Down

So how does this all shake out? Here’s a pie chart I made!

Key Conclusions

So now we can make some fairly solid conclusions about the online video viewing audience.

  • Just over 50% are 18-44 years old which equals just over 90 million.
  • Less than one-in-five online video viewers are under the age of 18.
  • The largest percentage of online video viewers are 25-44 years old.
  • One-in-four American online video viewers are 45-64 years old.

When compared to my similar article of two years ago we can see some shifts in the viewing audience. Under 18 makes up a sizable portion of online video viewers, even topping the 18 to 24-year-old crowd. That almost seems counterintuitive as that 18-24 crowd was 11-17 when the first video was uploaded to YouTube and that would have been the perfect demographic at the time I think. The thing that is abundantly clear is that the largest demographic is that key 25-44 age range which is good news for many online marketers, right?