October 2011 research from online ad network Burst Media found that a plurality of video viewers (39%) watch between 1 and 5 hours per week online, compared with less than a third who watch for under an hour.
Burst Media also found a fairly robust response rate to online video ads. Overall, the company reported 18.2% of online video viewers took some kind of action based on seeing an online video ad. The propensity to do so was even greater among over-35s, and especially among older men. Meanwhile, men ages 34 and under had less than half the response rate to online video ads.
Much of that action is likely taking place online, where video viewers have already become used to multitasking while watching traditional TV.
The older web users who are more likely to respond to video ads are less likely overall to watch online video, however. eMarketer estimates that this year, for example, 49% of 55- to 64-year-olds and 30% of those ages 65 and older will watch online video at least monthly. That compares to 87% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 81% of those ages 25 to 34.
That gap is closing, though. The highest growth in online video viewership is among these older groups; the number of viewers over 65 is expected to nearly double between 2011 and 2015, and the number of older boomers watching video online will increase by double-digit percentages through 2014, adding millions to online video advertisers’ responsive audiences.