Study: Online Vid Viewers Engaged in Election


Next week at this time we’ll have a new President-elect. And though the outcome might get mired in a legal morass, one clear winner from the year-and-a-half campaign has been online video. Now, a new study from Compete and Cisco (s CSCO) sheds a little more light on exactly how U.S. voters were using online video and how online video affected how people followed the election.

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Pulse Survey: Online Video and Political Engagement Highlights, which surveyed more than 1,800 U.S. registered voters, oldteevee is still king for finding news and information on the presidential election. But 30 percent said they used online video to follow election coverage. Seventy-five percent of these respondents believed watching video online let them follow the election more closely.

Republicans and Democrats aren’t just split on the issues, they go about finding online video in different ways. Democrats use traditional news sites and social networking sites to discover video, while Republicans generally rely on search engines to find video. However, both parties were almost equal in their use of YouTube.

Online video viewers are also more engaged in this campaign season than non-online video watchers, as 62 percent of online video watchers say they followed the election “very closely” as opposed to 37 percent of non-online video watchers. Additionally, 68 percent of online video users followed both party’s national conventions compared to 47 percent of non-online video watchers.

A greater percentage of online video watchers also reported that they put more thought into this election, followed it more closely and were more interested in politics now compared to 2004, than their non-online video watching counterparts did.

If you thought 2008 was a big year for online video in politics, just wait till 2012. Given the high level of engagement online video users had with this election, its role will only increase as online video continues to become more mainstream.

Charts courtesy of Cisco.


Rosa Sow

The study shows the causal relationship between watching online video and being more informed and involved, the clear winner here isn’t just online video but the democratic process as well.

The study provides great insight into consumer usage habits. It suggests that sites with highly vetted content may appeal to Democrats. While sites that aggregate news stories would appeal to Republicans who are more likely to use search engines.

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