Use caution when reading too much into latest Pew study on video

Interesting new report out from Pew on online video.

It confirms what we already know: Video is hot and getting hotter.

It also confirms that sharing is a big part of the online video experience.

Good news for us: News video is important to many people.

I suspect a lot of people are going to key on on this finding:

Overall, 62% of online video viewers say that their favorite videos are those that are “professionally produced,” while 19% of online video viewers express a preference for content “produced by amateurs.” Another 11% say they enjoy both professionally-produced video and amateur online video equally.

I wonder how “professionally produced” is defined in the minds of Pew or the respondents? Is LonelyGirl15 or the OK Go treadmill video “professionally produced” even though the production quality of these videos would not meet the standards of many video professionals?

Does professionally produced mean using all the best equipment and meeting some pre-defined production value standards? Or does it mean somebody was paid to produce it?

There are some vloggers who do very good work and I don’t think are making their living off their video. And their are vloggers who do make their living from video, but I bet the audience doesn’t see them as professionals.

I just don’t see how this question and response helps us understand: What type of video production actually appeals to an online audience?

The available evidence from what people are actually watching is very different from what the surface takeaway would be from this poll.

The other aspect of online video this poll did not address is: Advertising. I guess Pew might argue that they were focused on video as content, but advertising, especially in online video, is content. Melissa Worden points out in the comments that I missed the bit on advertising.

8 thoughts on “Use caution when reading too much into latest Pew study on video

  1. Another interesting result of this study was that the vast majority of young adults aren’t going to news sites to get video content. They’re going to YouTube mostly.

  2. Actually, they did address advertising. Here are their findings:

    Commercial video content is often integrated into other types of online video, and is a staple component of banner advertising on many popular websites, such as and Yahoo properties. Users may actively seek out commercial videos – for instance, when searching for Super Bowl advertisements or nostalgic commercials about Apple computers from the 1980’s – or they may passively view commercial content streaming on a site where they are reading a news article or searching for health information.

    When asked if they ever use the internet to watch or download commercials or advertisements, 13% of internet users say “yes.” A mere 2% of internet users say they watch commercials on an average day.

    Young adults are twice as likely as users age 50 and older to say they watch or download commercial videos online; 22% of those 18-29, 13% of users ages 30-49, 7% of users age 50-64 and 8% of those ages 65 and older say they consume commercial video content online.

  3. […] I did a quick search to see what other bloggers had to say about this and I found some interesting opinions. Howard Owens questions what “professionally produced” means in a study he reference while Andy Beal questions if online video advertising can really have this type of growth when mediums such as search marketing are easier to implement and are more accountable. In another article, Michael Pick has a great outline of a new online video advertising service from LiveRail. […]

  4. Most viewers would define “professional” really more in terms of viewability. Videos that are barely audible, pixelated and messy are more frustrating. However, YouTube has proven that there are many who don’t care about those issues.

    We publish two kinds of video content. Both meet the “professional” definition I have put forth.

    1. Video: A well produced story that includes interviews, voiceover and tells the story. This is the journalists preferred approach but it takes at least couple hours to complete.

    2. Footage: A quickly cut and posted clip from an event that is identified by the opening title. This is often replaced by a “Video” later in the process.

    Viewers understand the difference and appreciate the timeliness of footage. We label the content so viewers know what to expect. They know that they can watch footage now and return for more content and more information in the final produced video.

  5. […] Howard Owens asks, “What does Pew mean by ‘professionally produced?’” I tend to agree with a comment by William Cannon that gives the term a loose definition, meaning videos that are not shaking all over the place with terrible audio. […]

  6. […] Use caution when reading too much into latest Pew study on video – “I suspect a lot of people are going to key on on this finding: Overall, 62% of online video viewers say that their favorite videos are those that are ‘professionally produced’.” (tags: internet multimedia video consumption stats newspapersites citizenmedia) […]

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