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Streaming Is Going Mainstream: The Upward Arc of Online Video, Driven By Consumers

Only a short time ago, consumers had limited choices for accessing professional video content.

Today, a smorgasbord of options continues to multiply—from premium cable and DVDs, to online choices such as Apple, Netflix, and Hulu. Hardware options are equally dizzying, as traditional TV gives way to PCs, smartphones, and tablets. As portable devices meet the cloud, more consumers expect to view their favorite content anywhere, anytime.

The London Olympics this year were a case in point. NBC statistics reveal that more than 57 million U.S. viewers streamed Olympic events online. And over 7 million unique visitors per day accessed the BBC’s online Olympic sites, with nearly half of them watching on mobile devices.

Clearly, media consumption has evolved. Given the complexity of choices, it is essential for all players in the video value chain to understand what consumers need and want. To gain greater insight, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) studied the trends and behaviors of 1,152 video consumers in the United States in 2012.

Chief among our findings? Streaming is going mainstream—and if the quality, variety, and delivery of streaming video are held to a high standard, consumers will be willing to pay
for it.

Streaming Is Going Mainstream

Seventy percent of U.S. broadband users are watching professionally produced Internet video every week, with an average viewing time of more than 100 minutes per week. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, viewership rises to 94 percent. Overall, streaming video is ahead of downloading and about even with DVDs and Blu-ray Discs (see Figure 1). Read More »

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Video Streaming: How it’s Transforming Entertainment

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

The ultimate cultural vision of video streaming was laid out in an iconic Qwest TV commercial from 1999. In it, a man wanders into a dusty, remote motel asking about room amenities. It’s not promising. The bored young lady behind the desk recites in an apathetic tone that the beds are all king-size, and the only breakfast offered is donuts and coffee.

But when the man asks about entertainment, that’s a little different. In the same monotone, the girl answers, “All rooms have every movie ever made in every language any time day or night.” It’s taken a while — probably longer than the technoptomists among us expected — but we’re getting closer to that vision.

For one thing, according to a survey recently conducted by Goldman Sachs and reported by HedgeFundLive, 27 percent of Americans now stream TV shows and movies, up from 16 percent in 2010.

Read More »

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