We do it when we have five minutes to spare, when the boss isn’t looking or when we’re on our lunch break. “Video Snacking” describes the online viewing habits spreading around the world. Since the birth of YouTube in 2005, the need for a quick glimpse of a music video or a short viral-ad has gone from strength to strength. But will it keep growing? And to what extent will video snacking become the way in which we use the net?
Online video is easily accessible to viewers throughout their day, particularly on the lunch break. With more of us eating at our desks and taking shorter breaks, a small comedy clip, a quick glimpse of a music video or a brief news update are what we are opting to watch.
The trend is not just bound to the office lunch hour. When considering adding video to a business training program, research has shown that the viewer retains more information from bite-size clips, because this is the way we consciously choose to consume online video.
Two years ago market research company comScore published highlights of its video reporting for November 2008. It said that 77% of the U.S. internet audience viewed online video. Those viewers watched 34% more online videos than they did the previous year and the average duration of an online video was 3.1 minutes.
More recently, research from technology blog gigaOM Pro reports that most online viewers are video snackers. Over 60% of respondents claimed to regularly watch short video whereas only 30% claimed to regularly watch full-length programs.
Skylark Media Group recently conducted its own research survey to find if people in the UK regularly watch short video online and how long they spend getting their video snacking fix during working hours. We found that the majority (67%) of 25-34 year olds who took part in the survey spent the most time video snacking during working hours than any other age group, with an average time of 4-5 hours per week. 78% of 18-24 year olds said that they watched 3-4 hours of short video during working hours.
45-54 year olds had the least time spent in a week watching short video with 1-2 hours. A massive 89% said they regularly watch short/user-generated video more than full-length video at any time. That same amount said they would watch online video received from friends and colleagues and would in-turn then send the video on.
From these results we can see that the majority of online video viewers prefer to watch shorter video. Quick news clips with snappy information are trumping the full length programme.
User-generated video and shared video content are by far the most popular forms of online video, this is leading to a potentially successful marketing opportunity for the online video community.
Due to the midday spike in web traffic, media companies now have started responding by uploading video at specific times of the day and inevitably selling online advertising for the midday slot at a higher premium.
The research and data collected shows that video snacking and the consumption of short online video is continuing to rise globally year after year. The way forward for online video in all settings, including news, music and training programs is to keep it short, sharp and in bite-size snacks.