SideReel Gets Real on Online Viewing Habits: Learn the Surprising Facts

What do viewers want in online viewing? SideReel, an online TV destination, conducted a survey of over 1,800 of its users in December, 2010, and just released the results. The findings are surprising, and are a useful correction to the hype that often surrounds online video.

Social networking features, for one thing, simply aren’t important to many people. While social networking is a hot buzzword and every online video solution that comes around has to have social elements, most people aren’t interested in them. Only 10 percent of respondents (all online video enthusiasts) wanted to use social networking tools to tell others what they were watching. People are more curious about others: 25 percent wanted to know what their friends were watching, but that’s down from around 50 percent last year.

Viewers showed much more interest in connecting their computers to their televisions than connecting a set-top box. While 60 percent of respondents connected their computers to their TVs, only 5 percent used a set-top box such as Roku. That may say more about the SideReel audience than mainstream users. Set-top boxes are far easier for the non-tech savvy.

The survey also addresses the trends of cord-cutting and cord-shaving (i.e., cancelling cable or reducing cable or satellite services due to the use of streaming video). Users who watch over 10 hours per week of online programming are less likely to have cable or satellite than viewers who watched less than that. While it’s unclear how big a force cord-cutting will become, and whether or not cable and satellite companies should be worried, there are certainly a group of cutting-edge viewers who are happy to get all their programming from the Web.

You can view more survey results at SideReel’s site.


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