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Students' Use of TV Content across Different Platforms

Hong Kong.
The final session for this first day of The Internet Turning 40 starts with a paper by Louisa Ha on the use of multiplatform TV by students. Video is now consumed using TVs, computers, iPods, DVRs, DVD players, and mobile phones, but what are the patterns of such consumption and how does the usage of one affect usage of others? How is this related to different personal factors (gender, etc.), especially for user-generated videos? And how satisfied are the users of these different platforms?

Louisa undertook a national survey in 2008 of some 210 (US) college students in six public universities, 91% of whom watch online video (22% watch TV for more than16 hours per week). 47% were early adopters, having watched online video for more than three years at that point; they mostly came across such videos through surfing or (in 25% of cases) through peer influence. Online, 48% watched user-generated videos exclusively; 34% both user-generated and repurposed videos. Key sources here were YouTube (nearly 100%), Facebook, and MySpace, and mainly comedy and music entertainment videos.

66% watched online to see episodes of TV shows they'd missed, 40% re-watched episodes they'd already seen on TV, 36% explored online-only videos, 20% submitted their own videos - so this seems to undermine the argument that online video reduces the audience for TV shows (it increases it). Only one seventh of respondents watched mobile videos, and 66% of these users had their mobile phones paid for by their parents.

There seemed to be no evidence for media substitution - only complementary consumption. DVR ownershp was positively related to repurposed video usage; TV usage was significantly positively related to online video usage. Males are more frequent users of online videos than females; males were also early adopters and accessed more user-generated videos. Males preferred sport, auto, and adult videos; females pets and animals.

Users were most satisfied with user-generated videos across a variety of categories (except picture quality, where mobile videos rated highest - perhaps because of lower expectations in the first place); repurposed videos ranked middling overall. In particular, the design of user-generated video sites is especially important for user satisfaction; cross-promotion of on-air and online videos is also important, and this points to the potential importance of sites like YouTube for advertising on-air shows.

Aggregators and user-generated content sites provide the largest reach for advertisers, while TV network Websites reach the most loyal audience; evidence of video repurposing also points to a loyal following for specific shows. Additionally, this also has implications for audience measurement, which doesn't currently cover the viewers of user-generated videos very well. Complementary cross-platform viewing is also a challenge to measure.

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