Fierce Online Video

It’s easy to focus on all the great growth stories and traffic increases reported by online video companies, but a report released Tuesday says online video viewing stats just don’t add up. The Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence’s “Video Consumer Mapping Study” concludes online video usage is “dramatically overstated,” and it found people tend to overestimate their mobile and online video consumption while doing the exact opposite when it comes to their TV viewing habits.

The researchers observed the media viewing habits of 476 people 18 and older and found that, on average, the participants only watched about two minutes of online video per day, or one hour a month. That is about a third of the amount of average online video viewing reported recently by Nielsen Online and comScore. The report did find that younger age groups watch significantly more online video–18- to 24-year-old viewers watched six minutes of video a day, and 25- to 34-year-old viewers watched four minutes of video, on average–but those stats still don’t add up to the lofty usage rates usually attributed to the medium.

Audience statistics are hotly contested, as demonstrated by the Nielsen-Hulu spat over viewership numbers, and they play a huge role in the monetization of online video content. The debate over true viewership levels will continue, so stay tuned.

For more:
– see the MediaPost article on the study here
– see the ReelSEO article on the Nielsen-Hulu controversy here
– see the full study here (warning: giant PDF ahead)