Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

YouTube Watchers Boast a Very Short Attention Span, Over and Over Again

Amid a break between demos and parties at the Consumer Electronics Show, a reminder of just how astounding YouTube’s hold on the video-watching public is: While everyone knows that YouTube viewers are only consuming little chunks of video at a time, they are consuming a lot of it.

Take a look at this chart from comScore’s recently released November data (click to enlarge):

That’s close to two videos per day. And since comScore (SCOR) figures that the average online video runs something like 3.1 minutes, that’s nearly three hours a month per viewer on Google’s (GOOG) video site.

In a note today, Citibank analyst Mark Mahaney offers a slightly more conservative monthly estimate for YouTube, via Hitwise: 112 minutes per user. That makes sense, given that other research outfits estimate that most users bail after the first minute of any online video. That’s still a staggering number, though, given that Hitwise pegged that number at three minutes per user per month way back in 2006.

Next trick: Figuring out how to take all those eyeballs, who come back over and over again in ever-increasing numbers, and making money from them. I know this has been difficult to date. But it can’t be rocket science, right?

For instance, I’d gladly watch a short pre-roll ad before I saw this clip:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik