When we think about television on the web we usually think about places like Netflix and Hulu first. That’s where we go to binge watch a season of “Friends” or catch up on the latest episode of “Broad City.” YouTube is a separate animal altogether. When we think about YouTube we talk about “content.” Usually that means either cats doing stuff, pranks, or challenge videos. In other words, we don’t always think of YouTube as TV. That’s why we’re even more interested to hear that result of a new study that tells us that out of all the places you can go online to “consume TV” YouTube is the most popular.
Research Firm Frank N Magic Associates asked 2,400 people to list all the online sources they use to watch television online. Of that group 38% listed YouTube as their primary source of online television, making it the most popular ahead of second place finisher Netflix at 33%. Amazon and Hulu clocked in at just 17% and 14% respectively. At the bottom of the chart, predictably, was iTunes, likely due to its pay as you go structure. Everyone knows that the number of people who watch video online is growing fast. What’s less well known is that YouTube is leading the pack despite not always being seen as a home for “premium content.”
That’s something that might change as YouTube showers more money on its native creators to encourage them to develop bigger projects. Despite its position at the front of the online video class YouTube has been working hard to up its content game. The video giant’s recent efforts to highlight some of its more polished creators like Michelle Phan, Rosanna Pansino, Bethany Mota, Epic Rap Battles, and Vice News is really as much about rebranding YouTube as it is about helping those creators to find bigger audiences. YouTube wants to be seen as a legitimate alternative to television with the shiny high-value content that goes with it. From the results of this study it seems like they’re on the right track.