Ageing Web video

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by: Dick Stroud

Like so many developments on the Web, the initial burst of enthusiasm amongst young people rapidly ripples through to older age groups. Just think that the really advanced 18 year old who thought it was the height of technological sophistication to purchase a book using the Internet will just have had their 30th birthday. eBay has rapidly (in business evolution terms) gone from being the thing of the young to the hobby/home business tool of oldies (average age of UK users must be pushing into the 50-plus).

According to data compiled from Nielsen/NetRatings, comScore and Quantcast, Web users aged 35-64 represent anywhere between 48% to 65% of YouTube's audience. The average age of YouTube US users is the US is estimated at 39 years old.

Web video is fast going to go the same way.

Pew/Internet’s recently published report (Online Video) has the latest take on the ageing of Web video. I have reproduced a couple of the charts. The numbers that really interest me are:

The comparisons on use between the 30-49 and 50-64 years olds (just a 11% difference). This about the same difference in the behaviour for receiving and sharing links with others. The difference does increase for the more complex activities like posting video links online.

The difference in the propensity of the 18-29 and 65+ to watch news and comedy videos. A ratio of 1.8 for news and 4.7 for comedy.

Instinctively I feel both of these results are right but it is nice to have a bit of research to back-up your gut feelings.

What this shows, again not an amazing conclusion, is that different ages use Web technologies for their own purposes. What starts as a generic demonstration of a technological leap (like YouTube and MySpace) soon morphs into serving the behaviour and needs of different age groups and lifestyle groups.

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