These days, it seems like everyone and their mother has a video on YouTube. While that may not be true (yet!), it appears from a new study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that everyone and their mother is at least watching a video online nowadays.
According to Pew's research, 71 percent of adult internet users have visited a video sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo, up from 66 percent in 2010 and 33 percent in 2006. A full 28 percent of adults did so daily, up a staggering amount from the 8 percent who viewed a video online every day in 2006.
Here is the chart from Pew, which shows the rapid rise in popularity and ubiquity of video sharing sites in the internet lives of American adults:
Where is this growth coming from? Rural America, for starters: the percentage of rural internet users who said they have used a video sharing site has nearly doubled since 2009, from 37 percent to 68 percent in 2011. The Pew report shows that internet users in rural areas (68 percent of whom have ever watched videos on a video sharing site) are now almost as likely to watch online videos as their urban (72 percent) and suburban (71 percent) counterparts.
Pew also looked at usage of video sharing sites by users of different race and found that non-whites are slightly more likely than whites to both watch a video on any given day and to have ever watched a video on a video sharing site. While 25 percent and 69 percent of white respondents said they visit video sharing sites daily and have ever used a video sharing site, respectively, 34 percent of non-white users said they visit a video sharing site daily and 79 percent have ever done so.
Previously the Pew Internet & American Life Project looked at smartphone usage in the U.S. among different races and classes, and the results here jibe with the findings of elevated technology usage by non-whites. For example, Pew found that 44 percent of African-Americans and Latinos own smartphones, a proportion that is higher than the 33 percent of all Americans surveyed who said they owned a smartphone..
According to Kathleen Moore of the Pew Internet Project, it is better access to the Internet that is driving this broadly increased usage of video sites:
The rise of broadband and better mobile networks and devices has meant that video has become an increasingly popular part of users’ online experiences. People use these sites for every imaginable reason – to laugh and learn, to watch the best and worst of popular culture and to check out news. And video-sharing sites are very social spaces as people vote on, comment on, and share these videos with others.
For more research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project--including a full class and gender breakdown of video sharing sites--check out the entire report here.