News for Digital Journalists

June 04, 2010

Online videos: Comedy now more popular than news, says Pew

Just over half of all US adults have used the internet to watch or download video. But their online video habits are evolving fast. In 2007, news videos were the most popular type of online video viewed by US adults. But by 2009, comedy videos claimed that lead.

A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, The State of Online Video, says that in 2009, 43% of US internet users over age 18 reported watching comedy videos online (up from 37% in 2007)—but in that same span online viewership of comedy videos jumped from 31% to 50% of adult net users…

The biggest news/comedy gap in 2009 was among 18-29 year old net users: 93% reported watching comedy videos, 56% reported watching news videos. For 30-49 year old net users, comedy’s lead was negligible: 74% vs. 72% for news videos. News still holds the online video lead with the over-50 online crowd: 59%, vs. 52% for comedy videos.

The report did not mention whether Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” was counted as news or comedy.

It may be tempting to use these findings to dismiss the preferences of younger internet users—but it’s important to note that news is still one of the most popular types of online videos among the 18-29 crowd. Clearly, younger internet users have a growing demand for online video, and news is an important part of what they want. If you want to keep up with where your online audience wants to go, more and better video is probably a good bet.

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