Under 18 Largest Online Video Viewer Demographic?

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According to a recent report by eMarketer, those who watch television shows streamed via Internet, go to Hulu, those who want films, go to NetFlix. Personally, it’s no surprise. But what might be a surprise is the age of those viewers.

eMarketer said that video viewers are going longtail and that internet video viewing is growing. Really, we already knew that right? I mean I just wrote an article showing off CISCO’s thoughts on it.

What is the big reason for viewers going to longer content? Age, says eMarketer. With 86% of the 18-to-24 age group already watching video they’re set to push the envelope and breach the 95th percentile within the next couple years. Lagging behind slightly is the 25-to-34 age group and the 12-to-17-year-olds. Of course, that last group isn’t buying up all those Internet-ready TVs we’re seeing ship to market and so are probably not helping push Internet-video-to-TV growth as much as the others.

My age group is in fourth and should top 75% this year and reach 80% by 2014 they say. Now I don’t have a lot of friends my age and many are outside of that demographic (more in the previous age ranges I stated) so if I were to gather my small group of near-age friends I would say it might not be as high as they expect. But it’s a minute cross-section of the demographic that I deal with. The majority of my friends in the 35-44 range are watching videos via Facebook and YouTube.

It might not seem like a large difference, 68% of 45-54 versus 95% of 18-24-year-olds. When you look at the population in the US you find that it accounts for the majority of the population, over 205M people total. In 2000 the U.S. Census counted 26% of the population being under 18 and 62% were 18-64 with 12% over 65.

(2009 est.)

  • 0–14 years: 20.2%
    (male 31,639,127/female 30,305,704)
  • 15–64 years: 67.0%
    (male 102,665,043/female 103,129,321)
  • 65 years and over: 12.8%
    (male 16,901,232/female 22,571,696)

So there’s a slight shift toward the middle. Breaking down the middle to fit more neatly into the eMarketer demographics we get roughly this:

  • Approximately 60M are 0-14
  • Approximately 40M are 10-19
  • 19M are 20-24
  • 40M are 25-34
  • 44M are 35-44
  • 38M are 45-54

It’s not exact but you can see that there are slightly more people in the 35-44 age range and 77% is about 34 million Americans while 86% of 18-24 is (very roughly) around 30M and 84% of 25-34 is 34 million. On the higher end, 68% of the 45-54 demographic is about 22 million.

So by number of people it shakes out sort of like this:

  1. 35-44 (33.88)
  2. 25-34 (33.6)
  3. 18-24 (25-30M hard to judge could be fourth)
  4. 45-54 (22M)

So whom would you like to target with your online video? Certainly 12-34 year olds as they are a vast majority of the video viewing population, but, don’t forget about those of us hovering around our 40th birthday as we are seemingly a major consumer of online video.

Totaling my estimates above gives us about 120 million Americans. So that leaves, according to ComScore’s Video Metrix from April, 58 million Americans watching video outside of the 18-54 age group. Some quick math shows:

  • 55-64 is about 26 million people, 43% is 11,18 million people only.
  • 65+ is about 37 million people and 25.8% is only 9.5 million.
  • 0-18 is approximately 80 million people who could account for up to 38 million video viewers, a major segment of the online video viewing audience, some 21.3% and possibly the largest of all of the demographics

Now remember, there’s some margin of error in all of this as I’m using population demographic info from 2000, estimates from 2009, eMarketers demographics (and shoehorning the US Census into them) as well as comScore’s video metrix for online video viewers (not quite 100% direct measure), so there could be a healthy margin of error overall. But it’s fun to do math, isn’t it?

What I would really like to see would be a report that looks at the length of videos watched by demographic and the sites where they watch them. Then we might have a far better way to target. If the 18-44 crowd is watching Hulu that’s a good place to market Internet-ready TVs, Blu-Ray players and other tech. If the majority of the 0-18 crowd is watching on YouTube it’s a good place to market toys, games and lower-end technology. However, I think Google might be averse to such a report as it could show that those 13B streams and 136M viewers aren’t such a major buying power as they would probably like advertisers to think. I’m sure they also have their own numbers since many of the YouTube viewers have accounts there and one of the profile fields is…age (or whether or not to show it on one’s profile).


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