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Nielsen Online's new online video measurement service has found that the internet viewing habits of men and women are quite different.

Announcing (pdf) the VideoCensus service, the company said: 

"Video streams at broadcast network TV websites were nearly two times more likely to be viewed by women age 18-34 than men, who accounted for 22% and 12% of streams respectively.

"For the top four Consumer Generated Media websites, streams were two and a half times more likely to be viewed by men 18-34 than women, who accounted for 27% and 11% of streams, respectively."

In other words, women are much more likely to watch clips from Lipstick Jungle on NBC.com while men are much more likely to watch a video of Drama 2.0 riding his Ducati Desmosedici GP8 like a madman on a mountain highway in Austria.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, Nielsen Online discovered that:

"Among network TV Web sites, there was relatively low viewer overlap, whereas among CGM Websites, most viewers also watched video content on YouTube."

Michael Pond, a media analyst for Nielsen Online, commented:

“Network websites are destinations for fans to deepen their experience – they go to see favourite scenes, episodes and outtakes. These viewers are very loyal and engaged and the website is a place to become immersed in the program.

"With shorter clips and a viral nature, CGM Web sites are much more about discovery, and consumers are likely to view content on more than one.”

For instance, only 10% of Fox online viewers watched video on CBS, whereas 84%, 93% and 87% of the viewers on MySpace, Veoh and Break.com, respectively, also watched videos on YouTube.

I think there are several important implications for advertisers looking to leverage online video:

  • Different types of products are likely to be best advertised on different types of video websites.
    For instance, a female products brand may have better luck effectively reaching its target audience through a network TV website than through YouTube. At the same time, a brand targeting primarily men may have less justification to purchase advertising on a network TV website, even if the show itself attracts a male television audience.
  • Network TV websites may have a more compelling justification for higher pricing, as they can offer advertisers audiences that are more loyal and less likely to be found on other websites.
    Interestingly, however, BurstMedia found in a recent study that women are "more likely than men to say advertisements in video content disrupt their web surfing experience," which may negate this potential selling point.
  • It may be harder for advertisers to leverage 'CGM' websites effectively.
    The content found on them is not only shorter and more viral - it's typically not part of a continuing series (i.e. a network sitcom) with a known audience and reputation. Thus, advertisers may struggle to effectively position themselves with this type of content because it's a bit more 'chaotic'.

It will be interesting to see if the current trends identified by Nielsen Online hold as the online video market matures.

Whether they do or not, it's increasingly clear to me that there are and will continue to be significant challenges in turning online video into the effective advertising platform it has the potential to become.

A number of different models may be required to reach a diverse array of online consumers.

Fortunately, if men really are from YouTube and women from Hulu, this may aid in the development of better models.

Related posts:
One in ten will pay to remove YouTube ads

Drama 2.0

Published 18 February, 2008 by Drama 2.0

237 more posts from this author

Comments (1)


Kaya PPC, Internet Marketing Manager at Optimised Media

Interesting survey. I think we also need to consider that sites like youtube and break allow content to be embedded on websites. As far as I know most broadcast networks don't allow this.

Kaya, Optimised Media

over 8 years ago

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