What makes an online video hit?

8 09 2007

NewTeeVee asks a pertinent and long overdue question with some interesting results:

  • Does three million plays of Kate Modern over a month make it a hit or a miss?
  • 100,000 views say execs at Revver, Funny or Die and Heavy.com — who also point to other metrics such as how much a piece of content is being talked about, forwarded or embedded in users’ sites
  • Three to five million in the first week, say JibJab, creators of This Land  (> 80 million plays to date)

Just for perspective: last week’s top-rating show on U.S. cable was The Hills on MTV, drawing an audience of just over three million viewers, albeit using the lacking-in-accountability measurement system which has propped up TV nets for so many years.

Traffic stats within TV sites

2 08 2007

A welcome innovation from metrics firm Hitwise, which is now measuring trafic not just to TV sites, but also within.

Here are the most recent figures:

Top Visited US Broadcast Network TV Show Websites (Week ending July 28, 2007)  

Rank   Network   Website                            Market Share Of Visits
1       FOX         The Simpsons                              21.90%
2       CBS         Pirate Master                                7.15%
3       NBC         America’s Got Talent                      6.88%
4       FOX         American Idol                                6.19%
5       FOX         So You Think You Can Dance           5.81%
6       FOX         America’s Most Wanted                   4.23%
7       NBC         Deal Or No Deal                              3.17%
8       FOX         Hell’s Kitchen                                 2.69%
9       ABC         Greys Anatomy                               2.21%
10     NBC         Age of Love                                   1.85%

Source: Hitwise Rankings based on market share of US visits among custom category of television network websites among six major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, The CW and MyNetwork) for the week ending July 28, 2007 (Sunday ­ Saturday) from the Hitwise sample of 10 million US Internet users.

ComScore June 07 numbers, U.K.

31 07 2007

ComScore reports that 63% of the 15+ population used the internet during June, with an average of 35 hours per user spent online during the month.

Despite clinging to the prized number 1 to 3 rankings, Google,  Microsoft and eBay all lost a modest amount of reach during the month, while Yahoo! showed growth of just 1%. But the fastest growth of all came from Mozilla, which released an update to its Firefox broswer during June.

Of U.K. broadcasters, Channel 4 put in a strong performance with unique visits climbing 39%, believed to be as a result of online viewing of the latest iteration of Big Brother; the second biggest gain for any U.K. web property for the period reported.

ComScore refines online metrics

29 07 2007

Web measurement firm ComScore announced last week that it is to refine its methodology, splitting out heavy, medium and light users – reports the Financial Times.

The 20 per cent of internet users who spend longest online will be defined as heavy. The remaining audience will be defined as 30 per cent medium and 50 per cent light, using the same time-based criteria – the report states.

according to ComScore’s analysis of US web traffic, heavy users on average spent almost 97 hours online during May. The average time spent online among the light 50 per cent of the US web audience was just 3.6 hours. But when this is reported as an average across all US web users, ComScore’s figure rises to 28.8 hours.

Heavy users also visit a much larger number of websites and view more individual web pages than the “light” 50 per cent. If widely adopted, ComScore’s reforms could encourage advertisers to look beyond the most popular websites and seek out those visited by harder to reach medium and light internet users.

ABC.com launches HD streaming video

29 07 2007


US network ABC rolled out the Beta of its high-definition online video streaming service last Tuesday, offering four episodes from a selection of its most popular prime time shows. Each episode features pre-roll, non-skippable commercials.

A minimum connection speed of 2 megabits per second is needed, as well as a downloadable player provided by Move Networks ; though access is geo-IP restricted to those in the U.S.

The Beta launch of the ABC HD channel follows the announcement of the service last May, with the offer to be beefed up in September.

ABC.com has more than doubled its user base during the last year, with ComScore Media Metrix reporting 14.6 million unique viewers in May 2007.

Leslie Moonves: show me the money

23 07 2007

When it comes to multiplatform, Leslie Moonves of CBS has a simple solution: watch more linear telly. According to this report in Ad Age, Moonves is adamant that content monetisation comes from linear and linear only. He sort of has a point and not all at the same time: if you follow his argument that online metrics are a bit wonky, it figures (Nielsen’s more accountable system won’t be in place until 2011) — but then it’s hardly as if linear TV measurement is that accountable.

The report belies a broader point, simply that while an increasing amount of ad spend is moving away from ‘traditional’ media and on to the web — hence why every major network is beefing up its online services — a smaller proportion is going in to online video advertising. Madison Avenue remains years behind the curve when it comes to online video ads, usually farming such work out to the plethora of boutique agencies which specialise in the area; but the spend is still peanuts compared to overall budgets.

Advertisers and networks listen: the web is where < 35s are. Social networks are grabbing their attention in a way TV — until now, the pre-eminent medium — cannot compete with. It’s not the end of TV, it’s the beginning of searchable TV.

3 Out of 4 U.S. Internet Users Streamed Video Online in May

18 07 2007

ComScore’s latest data, released yesterday, states that 74.3% of US internet users watched streamed video online, during May, with each user watching an average of 158 minutes of content; over a third of these (35%) via YouTube.

Numbers are aggregated across Google sites, collectively accounting for 49.2% streaming video market share, followed by Fox (40%), Yahoo (26.6%), TimeWarner (22.3%) , Microsoft (18.5%) and Viacom (14.7%). Both ABC and Disney — curiously split out in a study which otherwise aggregates across the network sites — languishing at < 10%.

Web metrics just got a little more serious

10 07 2007

No more handbags between comScore Nielsen/NetRatings when it comes to online measurement, at least as far as the US Interactive Advertising Bureau is concerned. Why? You can’t realistically monetise it until metrics are standardised.

As an indication of how complex the whole area can be, here are some of the different metrics being applied by the US networks, when it comes to the performance of online video properties (full report available from TV Week here, assuming it doesn’t become premium content after 24 hours):

“Turner Broadcasting last week said it intends to report how many episodes of its TNT and TBS series are watched online, rather than how many streams, or segments, of a show get played.

Last month, NBC spurred networks to re-examine how they count Web viewers when it announced it had delivered more than 300 million streams of video on NBC.com since last October.”

“The industry would benefit from standardization in terms of reporting because it’s harder to move forward when there is confusion,” pithily put by Tracey Scheppach, senior VP and video innovation director at media-buying agency Starcom USA [which represents clients advertising on at least four of the major network online offers].

So the piece continues: “If you report streams, you end up being able to game the system, meaning I can create gains or losses at will, simply by cutting a show into more pieces,” said Jack Wakshlag, chief research officer for Turner Broadcasting.

That’s why Turner has decided to switch from reporting streams to episodes. Earlier this year, Turner reported TBS’ “My Boys” had delivered 2.7 million streams online. But each episode was broken into three streams, providing an unclear picture of how many episodes consumers were watching. [Echoes of MSN’s Live Earth stats to date, anyone?]

“I want to give more information rather than less, and at least give information they can compare to other networks or to episodes on our Web sites,” Mr. Wakshlag said.

The lack of standards so far is keeping the Web from fulfilling its potential as a medium that lets advertisers know exactly who is seeing their commercials — and acting on them.

Quite, hmmm…

ABC reports episode starts, while NBC reports streams. Fox releases aggregated streaming figures for Fox Interactive Media, which includes Fox’s full-length episodes and MySpace videos as well. CBS doesn’t release data on consumption of its online video.

NBC prefers to report streams to give a sense of the volume of people clicking in to its sites, said Vivi Zigler, executive VP of NBC Digital Entertainment and New Media… ABC initially reported streams viewed of its full-length episodes on ABC.com last summer and then quickly switched to include counts of episodes and streams. Since last fall, ABC.com has delivered more than 120 million episode starts and more than 500 million streams.

“When we first did streams it was just a mad rush to figure out what the data was,” said Albert Cheng, executive VP of digital media with the Disney-ABC Television Group. “But streams are segments of a video. So we decided it’s probably a lot more accurate to call it episode starts.”

Roll on standardisation…