Americans are watching online video! Crazy right?! Oh wait, we know that. If we weren’t watching so much more, Jeremy probably wouldn’t have gotten flamed as much as he did in his anti-Netflix-consumer article… I mean in his article in which he said we needn’t be so angry over their outrageous 60% price hike. I bet he wasn’t expecting this spin on things when he assigned me this article. Ha! Sucker! Alright, let’s be more serious, read on for some numbers from the latest Pew (pew pew) Report that shows Americans are watching more online video than ever before.

So why are Americans watching more online video? Pew cites more broadband and better mobile networks for the increase, and while that might be true, they might also take into account (which they didn’t I think) the ever-expanding universe of online video content that we are creating. They should also take into account the content specifically being made for online consumption as well as the fact that nearly every major broadcaster is pushing content out either through their own sites or through sites like Hulu (and that other place which is now dead to me and suffering for it!).

Americans Watching More Online Video Than Ever

According to their May survey, 71% of American Internet Users (not total US population) are watching some sort of video online which is up 5% from last year, and 28% of them used a video sharing site within the last 24 hours (from when they were polled).

Now, they do have some interesting findings in their research. For instance, men and women were equal while men slightly outpaced women in the second statement 32 to 25%. I’m betting those numbers aren’t weighted for population gender differences though. Well then again, this is Pew so maybe it is.

Rural Viewers Vs. Urban Viewers

Here’s a big shocker as well, rural and urban users are just about the same in regards to checking out some video online. 68% of rural users joined 72% of urban users and 71% of those in suburbia. With all the push that there has been to get more broadband to more rural areas, this seems to show that it’s working. Then again, if you live in those areas you probably have far less computer time on a daily basis so it’s also no surprise that just 14% of those surveyed said they had visited a video-sharing site ‘yesterday.’

Online Viewer Nationality Breakdowns

What is that demographic that you want to hit with your social media? Well, if it’s non-white parents then you’re totally in luck, as you can see below, so called non-white are more likely to use video sharing sites. Parents are the cream of the crop with 81% of them going to put little Johnny’s first steps up on YouTube regularly.

Video Sharing Websites

Pew says higher use of video-sharing sites coincides with the explosion of content on YouTube, including videos produced by amateurs. Gee, I guess they did take the online video content into account. These guys are good!

The rise in use of video-sharing sites is at least partly being driven by the growth in content on sites like YouTube and by user contributions. The rise in use of video-sharing sites is at least partly being driven by the growth in content on sites like YouTube and by user contributions, which then possibly encourage site visits by contributors’ friends and others who pass around links about popular amateur videos. The latest statistics from YouTube are that 48 hours of content are uploaded every minute to the site and the range of contributions is striking. YouTube lists 28 different categories for channels of video that are contributed and dozens of subcategories ranging from automobiles and gaming, to activism and politics.

Online Video Research Methodology

Here’s another thing I like about Pew Research, you want to know how they do something? Read the survey methodology and topline findings at

For results based Internet users (n=1,701), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.  In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.



Overall, I think Pew Research is doing a splendid job in giving us some transparency in their reports. I, as a hard core science nerd, really appreciate their openness about their methodology and this chart which shows a big pile of numbers that all research should include regularly. Cue the applause as I ride off the stage yelling pew pew pew and unloading my finger guns into the air (no I haven’t been drinking today).