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Most Internet users to watch video online by 2014

Growth in online video viewing may dip at first, but more than three-quarters of U.S. Internet users will be streaming online video by 2014, says new research.

As more people turn to the Internet to catch movies, TV shows, and other content, 77 percent of all Internet users in the U.S. will watch videos online by 2014, according to information released Wednesday by eMarketer.

The last few years have witnessed huge growth in online video watching, with an 11.3 percent rise in viewers from 2008 to 2009, says eMarketer. The number of people catching full-length movies on the Web more than doubled between September 2008 and October 2009, according to a report by Ipsos.


The overall growth in online video viewing will likely slow to between 8 percent and 9 percent through 2012 and drop to 5.2 percent in another four years, forecasts eMarketer. But the streaming of full-length content will continue to surge.

"If the first iteration of online video was about silly pet tricks on YouTube, the next wave will be about professionally produced full-length content such as TV shows, movies, and live sports," Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst, said in a statement. "This shift will be propelled by a combination of technology integration, demographics, and a growing comfort level with the idea of watching video hosted on Web sites."

The demand for full-length videos is being propelled by a couple of factors, notes eMarketer. Hulu, which offers full TV episodes and movies, has been ranked by Nielsen as second to YouTube in the number of video streams viewed this past April. Consumer adoption of Web-enabled TVs, Blu-ray players, and similar devices is also driving the rise in long-form video content. In-Stat has forecast that U.S. shipments of Web-enabled consumer gadgets will grow from 14.6 million this year to 83.4 million by 2014.

The growth in all online video viewing is being fueled in large part by the under-25 crowd, eMarketer said. A recent report from Retrevo found that 29 percent of all people under 25 get all or most of their TV online, compared with only 8 percent of the entire video-watching population. And as the younger generation gets older, eMarketer expects they'll be used to getting their video fixes on the Web courtesy of a new range of devices that will make online video viewing even easier.