Demand for online video is up, but supply is low. That equation could represent a significant new business opportunity for online publishers able to take advantage of the trend, according to a study released this month by the Online Publishers Association (OPA).
The survey of more than 27,481 Internet users age 13 and older-conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates-found that more than half of those surveyed (51%) watched video online at least once a month. Further, 27% watched online video once per week and 5% watched it daily. The combination of high-impact online video advertising and an engaged, demographically attractive audience could yield a significant new business opportunity for online publishers, said Michael Zimbalist, president of the OPA.
"Advertising in video online is tremendously impactful, and online video is in very high demand," Zimbalist said. "The flip side is that supply is constrained. So the good news is that there's a strong willingness to watch video online, even though [users] don't have an easy path to finding it."
Business publisher CNET.com has made a major commitment to video content, serving millions of streams per month, said Candice Meyers, senior VP-CNET.com. The site delivers unique video content such as hands-on demos of a mobile phone or PC via distinctly branded segments such as "First Look From the Labs" and "Weekend Project."
"With video, people need to see something that takes them beyond the text experience," Meyers said. "We have been really focused on making sure our audience understands the intrinsic value of our video and providing them with a sense of control over how they view it."
CNET's experience with video inventory is consistent with the OPA's findings. "We're selling [video ad] inventory as fast as we can serve it out," Meyers said. "There's a huge demand for it."
The recent proliferation of online video beyond the main consumer portal sites to second-tier sites-including, increasingly, business publishing properties-represents a "watershed event" for online video, according to Jupiter Research analyst Nate Elliot.
"For online video to really be a mass medium, that content needs to be everywhere, not just at portal sites," he said. "There's a lot of media attention right now on online video, and that kind of attention tends to be cyclical. But right now there's good reason for that attention-the [online video] market is growing pretty aggressively."