It’s Hard to Find Something to Watch Online

When looking to watch online video, U.S. Internet users are more likely to browse than utilize recommendations or search engines, according to a new study commissioned by web personalization service ChoiceStream. But they’re not necessarily happy with their methods, and report frustration finding something to watch.

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The self-serving origin of this study notwithstanding, its results are interesting. Fifty-six percent of survey respondents said they “browse sites” when they’re looking to find video to watch on their computers, mobile devices, or media player. That was the most popular answer, topping use of search engines at 33 percent, friends and family recommendations at 32 percent, and web site recommendations at 20 percent.

Thirty-four percent of respondents said they are frustrated with how long it takes to discover video online (which they most commonly said is “a few minutes”). To be fair, the same amount of users said they were frustrated with how long it takes to discover video on television.

But their frustration with search and discovery is not enough to keep people from exploring alternative methods of watching television and movies. Fifty-five percent of the 824 people who responded to ChoiceStream’s survey, including a larger portion of younger respondents, said they watch video on computers, mobile devices and media players (including watching DVDs on their computers), with a third or more of them watching at least four hours per week.

The previous research on this topic we’d seen commonly cited was a study from Kelton Research which found 96 percent of survey respondents couldn’t find what they were looking for through video search, and 45 percent only watched videos when they were recommended by a friend or colleague.

Last month we reviewed various online video search, discovery and recommendation approaches at our NewTeeVee Live conference. You can watch a video of the panel — which had representatives from CastTV, Truveo, Taboola, Dabble and StumbleUpon — here.

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