More than two-thirds (69%) of adult Internet users have used the Internet to watch or download video, representing 52 percent of all adults in the U.S., according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Fifty percent of adult Internet users have viewed a comedy video online, up from 31 percent in 2007, and 38 percent have watched an educational video up from 22 percent.
Thirty-two percent of adult Internet users have watched movies or TV shows online up from 16 percent three years ago.
Political videos have also increased in popularity. Thirty percent have watched political videos online, up from 15 percent in 2007.
"We are seeing a surge in online video watching that is driven by a combination of broadband access, the increasing use of social networking sites, and the popularity of video-sharing sites," explains Kristen Purcell, Associate Director for Research at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and author of the report.
"To tap into these trends, untold numbers of websites now showcase online video as part of their content."
Home video is the most popular content posted online, shared by 62 percent of video uploaders. Uploaders are just as likely to share video on social networking sites like Facebook (52% do this) as they are on more specialized video-sharing sites like YouTube (49% do this).
While video-sharing is growing in popularity, adult internet users have mixed feelings about how much they want to share. While 31% of uploaders say they "always" place restrictions on who can access their videos, 50% say they "never" restrict access. The remaining 19% fall somewhere in the middle.
"People are increasingly enthusiastic about the opportunity to share their own video content online, but there’s a lot of variation in terms of how people control access to the videos they post, who they think is watching, and concern about how their video might be used," said Purcell.
The survey found among video uploaders, there is almost universal appreciation for the ease with which video-sharing sites allow them to share video with family and friends. But a considerable number (35%) also feel they should be more careful about what they post. And while 39% of uploaders express the belief that only people they know will see the videos they post, an equal number (41%) say they are surprised by the number of people who watch their videos. Another 28% say that sharing videos online has helped them meet new people.