The Top 5 Online Video Trends of 2011

December 27, 2011

Consumption of online video continues to grow at an incredible pace, with more content streamed to more connected screens than ever before. YouTube alone had more than 1 billion plays in 2011. The big picture for cable operators, broadcasters, networks and other media companies reveals record growth fueled by increased demand for online content, more hardware and an “always on” mobile broadband landscape. 

Here are VideoMind’s top 5 online video trends in 2011.

5. Make That TV To Go

2011 was the year that TV Everywhere went from buzzword to strategy, after tablet sales exploded. Amazon has already sold more than 3 million Kindle Fires, and Apple moved over 25 million iPads this year. Tablets are built for watching video. Our Video Index Report found, for instance, that tablet viewers “averaged nearly 30 percent more viewing time per play than those who watched on desktops... and they completed videos at double the desktop rate.”

Media companies know that TV today is more than just the living room. HBO GO debuted its iPad app this year, and Netflix redesigned its Apple tablet interface. 2011 gave us more ways to take our favorite movies, sports and TV shows with us. 

4. OTT FTW

Over the Top (OTT) solutions gained popularity in 2011. From Roku to Boxee to GoogleTV, more people are getting their content from boxes that aren’t hooked up to cable. 

Video game consoles, in particular, are increasingly used to stream online video. Nielsen recently released a study that found video streaming from game consoles jumped nearly 50% percent from 2010. This data is in line with our own research, which found that viewers were also more engaged when watching on a game console or connected TV device, like Roku or Google TV. 

There will be over half a billion connected TVs out there by 2015, so expect even more online content to appear on our big screens.

3. Cord Cutting

This year 4.5 million Americans will cut their cable cord, up from 2.5 million in 2010. We took a look at the demographics of cord cutting and found that a lot of these cable cutters are young, educated and employed. Like overall online video stats, the number of cord cutters will continue to grow in the coming years. Whether the underlying causes are a tough economy or increased online video options like Hulu and Netflix, cord cutting is a trend that gained momentum in 2011. Smart media companies will find ways to get their content to these viewers through online channels. 

2. Social. Media. 

2011 was the year that content went social. Miramax launched a Facebook app, which let fans like Pulp Fiction in a whole new way. Warner Brothers also put its movies on the leading social network. The U.S. Congress even passed legislation that will pave the way for Netflix to stream content on Facebook. Theater ticket sales may be down, but huge new revenue opportunities appeared this year. In fact, studies show that viewers are watching more TV and online video than ever before. 

1. Original Online Content (That Doesn’t Involve Cats)

In the early days of online video, it seemed that all content revolved around cats and babies. But just as vaudeville gave way to the cinema, user generated video is giving way to professionally produced content. Indeed, we may be witnessing the end of an entertainment era, as Netflix and other streaming video services move into producing original programs. From cult-comedy “Arrested Development” finding new life on Netflix, to YouTube betting big on a channel-forward site redesign that’s chock full of original content, online video is increasingly broadcast quality. 

Did we miss any major media trends here? Sure, sure, there was that whole Qwikster thing. But any others? Let us know in the comments. 

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