July 26, 2011

Use of video-sharing sites jumps since last year – 71% of online adults use such sites now

Use of video-sharing sites jumps since last year – 71% of online adults use such sites now

Rural internet users have caught up to others in their use of these sites and minorities are more likely than whites to visit them

WASHINGTON – Fully 71% of online Americans use video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. On any given day, 28% of internet users go to such sites.

These figures come from a new national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and they both are notable increases from 2010. The previous survey found that 66% of online Americans had ever used video sharing sites and that on a typical day 23% of internet users were visiting them.

Moreover, the use of video-sharing sites on any given day also jumped five percentage points. In our May 2001 survey, 28% of online Americans said they had gone to such sites “yesterday,” compared with 23% who had reported using video-sharing sites “yesterday” – or on a typical day in May 2010.

Usage over time

“The rise of broadband and better mobile networks and devices has meant that video has become an increasingly popular part of users’ online experiences,” said Kathleen Moore of the Pew Internet Project, author of the report. “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.”

Indeed, the explosion of content on sites like YouTube has been an audience draw. The company reports that 48 hours of video are posted on YouTube every minute. And since 2005 the number of visits to the site has grown from 8 million views a day to over 3 billion per day. Other statistics on YouTube can be found on the company’s press page.

The Pew Internet survey found that rural internet users are now just as likely as users in urban and suburban areas to have used these sites. Some 68% of rural internet users have gone to such sites, compared with 71% of online suburbanites and 72% of online urban residents. Those are statistically insignificant differences and show that since 2009 online rural residents have caught up to others in using these sites.

In addition, online African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than internet-using whites to visit video-sharing sites. 

“Many other online activities have not shown much growth in recent years in the number of people who pursue them. But the growth of video-sharing sites stands out against that trend,” said Moore. “More and more people see these sites as places to get a little dose of amusement or diversion and every once in a while to find something very moving.”