From Couch Potato to 'Tuber'

Dennis Faas's picture

Couch Potatoes are becoming YouTube "tubers". Males in the 18 to 24 year old age group are redirecting their time; a 2007 Harris survey discovered that 1 in 3 of the frequent visitors to YouTube claim to be watching less TV as a result of watching YouTube and 66% were sacrificing other activities to watch YouTube.

Among their sacrifices: 20% were pre-empting their email and social network time, 19% were deferring their work or homework, 15% sacrificed playing video games, and 12% were substituting spending time with friends or family. (Source:

And we're not just talking about a few obsessive-compulsive nerds. The same survey showed that 42% of online U.S. adults (estimated to be 178 million people) say they have watched a video at YouTube and 14% say they visit the site frequently.

But what are they watching? This is where it gets interesting.  In another survey performed by PEW Internet and American Life Project of online users that watch any type of video found that 19% will do so on a "typical day". (Source: They found that the largest categories of content are news (37%) and humor (31%) followed closely by music videos (22%) and even educational videos (22%). Another 19% watch cartoons and 16% watch TV shows online. It will be a big surprise to those that get annoyed by the frequency of TV ads to learn that 13 % of the videos watched or downloaded were advertisements.

What can we infer from this?

  • (1) Traditional cable and TV better be worried.
  • (2) advertiser's should worry too; 73% of those polled in the Harris survey said they would watch less if videos were preceded by an advertisement. 
  • (3) we might also be able to assert that attention spans are decreasing as evidenced by the number of short 'clips' rather than feature length videos

Whatever their choice of content, this same survey found that 62% of respondents preferred professionally produced content over amateur.

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