YouTube has become one of Holland’s top 3 most visited sites, a study by Dutch research agency Multiscope shows. Two thirds of Dutch Internet users check the video site on at least a monthly basis, partly due to the network effect of the service (You know the deal, bored people sending each other videos during work). Apart from these impressive numbers, one part in the study report particularly struck me: the extraordinarily high average visit time, which is 8 minutes. Is online video becoming a substitute for TV?
Chinese TV threatened by online videos
In China, this already is the case. The country is the home of the world’s most exciting online video market. The government isn’t afraid to pull the censorship card every once in a while, there’s tough competition, as much rumors as videos, and millions, millions of funding and views. When I interviewed Marc van der Chijs, founder of Tudou – largest video site of the world with 35 billion minutes viewing time in January -, he told me the average visitors stays on Tudou for 47 minutes. “For young Chinese people”, he said, “it is a substitute for television”.
Will Europe follow?
So while the first signs of a similar trend are appearing in the Netherlands, the questions arises whether we Europeans will face a similar scenario in the near future. Comscore recently released data from their online video measurement service, indicating that 23.2 million French Internet users viewed 2.1 billion videos online in January 2008. That number of 23.2 million viewers makes up for 79.5 percent of the total French Internet audience. So almost 80 percent of French Internet users watched on average 90 videos in one month.
There’s of course one major difference though — European television tends not to suffer from censorship threats, thus it’s not as biased as in China. No frightened kids who run to the “unbiased” and fun environment of online videos. Though when I think about it, the quality of Dutch TV isn’t particularly high either. Will we abandon the couch en masse to watch four-minute clips?
[Via: Bright (Dutch)]