The term “disruption” is commonly associated with business.
In this context, “disruption” refers to increasingly faster changes and evolutions in the way of doing, interpreting, and thinking compared to the past. Especially today, this term is often used in discussions related to technology innovation and digital technology, a world that, as we all know, has and continues to experience enormous change.
But why are we talking about “disruption”? In this post, we’re placing this concept in the context of enjoying online video: from YouTube to social media, to streaming platforms.
“Disruptive innovation” is an expression coined by the American Harvard academic and economist Clayton Christensen, and refers to the effect of a new technology or a new way of operating on a business model, which totally alters the previous market logic, introducing new behaviors and interactions (source: ilsole24ore.com).
How has the way that users enjoy content changed?
The world of online video, which includes audiovisual content in general but also artistic, cultural, and entertainment content, has undergone a major evolution following the huge push from digital technologies. This push is increasingly toward a multichannel approach.
These new technologies allow us to access all kinds of content, “thanks to the internet and the way it transforms information into liquid content that can be conveyed through all channels and reconverted into all physical forms when needed” (source: agendadigitale.eu).
Digital technologies make it possible for us to access any kind of content at any time and in any place. While today this may seem both obvious and essential, we must remember that this has only been “normal” for just a few decades.
There is so much information devoted to this topic, so we will try to go in order and rely mainly on data to demonstrate this change and acceleration. Let’s start with the enormous importance and scope that online video holds in our present, both within businesses and in our daily lives.
Online video within businesses
That video has become the quintessential online content is now common knowledge. Being part of a business and adopting a video marketing strategy is a great way to get noticed in the market and we have the statistics to prove it.
Let’s start by saying that the demand for online video is steadily increasing, in fact:
- 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or company they support (source: Hubspot).
This statistic is not about mere entertainment; in fact, we’re talking about real brand content. The brand is no longer simply who we decide to buy a product or service from, but a real reference point, whose ideas and values we share, and even a source of inspiration or even a way of life.
- 88% of marketers are satisfied with the ROI generated by video marketing on social media (source: Wyzowl).
- Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year (source: Optinmonster).
- 8 out of 10 users purchased a software or app after watching a brand video (source: Wyzowl).
- In 2022, 82% of global internet traffic will come from streaming and downloads (source: Cisco).
- In 2021, after the second lockdown, video consumption trends soared (+82%) (source: Comscore).
We could go on and on, but these statistics support the previous sections as well as what we will discuss in the following ones.
Online videos in everyday life
Over the past three years–it’s no coincidence that this corresponds to the recent Covid-19 period – there has been a substantial increase in the Italian digital audience, reaching a penetration of 75% of Italian adults (source: Sensemakers).
As we mentioned, to a large extent, the pandemic period contributed to a disproportionate increase in the enjoyment of online content, especially online video, and it also changed the way it is enjoyed.
In short, the pandemic has accelerated the digitization process in all areas, and the result is that young people are the “heavy users” of the Internet. This isn’t surprising: disinterested in TV programs that, no matter how hard they try to come across as “youthful”, always tend to attract the attention of the baby boomer generation (age 50-70), the very young have taken refuge in the world of online video: through social media, YouTube, and streaming platforms.
According to data collected by Sensemakers on the period from January to November 2021, the time spent online each day, in hours, by age group has increased significantly for those 18-24 years old. This is 22% more than in the same period in 2019.
Consider that YouTube alone reaches 21 million people between the ages of 25 and 54 every month. We’re talking about 88% of the Italian population in this age group. Time spent on YouTube is more than 35 minutes per day, in addition to a 75% increase in the time users watch YouTube on TV screens, adding Smart TVs into the range of devices. But we will get to this point in the next section (source: thinkwithgoogle.com).
It’s clear that there has been an increase in time spent online, particularly during lockdown periods, across all age groups. In the post-lockdown phase, it is mainly the young and the old who are experiencing the greatest growth.
Online video and mobile
We often talk about the need for all content, whether online video or otherwise, to be optimized for mobile, at a time when we are rapidly moving toward a mobile-first perspective.
Mobile is concentrating time spent, particularly in the use of mobile apps that now account for three-quarters of time spent online, starting with the main social networks, online messaging, and YouTube (source: Sensemakers).
Suffice it to say that, in Italy, the number of smartphones turns out to be higher than that of the population: about 80 million devices for 60 million people (source: Ansa).
Increasingly larger mobile device screens – to get a better view of the content we watch — and the number of apps available for both desktop and mobile and even, at times, mobile only, are more than clear signs.
It’s on this wave of digital evolution that we want to shift the focus to a timely topic that reveals another face of online video content, which is no longer limited to social networks and YouTube but includes streaming platforms, which are experiencing constant growth.
Italians and streaming platforms
As always, to prove our point we present data, which again, seem unequivocal. The growth of digital video streaming (+52% Y/Y) is far greater than that of linear TV (+11% Y/Y), not to mention the development of Smart TVs, which are used by 78% of heavy users of online video, which are spent in streaming 52% of the time.
In addition, habitual consumption (+7 percentage points between the first and second lockdown) and the number of likes for “Subscription Video On Demand” (SVOD) services (with an average rating above 8) has also increased.
Although it had predecessors, until a few years ago, we associated “streaming” with Netflix.
In Italy, the top seven paid video streaming services control 91% of the market. This is what emerges from Just Watch statistics regarding the third quarter of 2021. Netflix and Prime Video dominate the scene, with 28% of market share for Netflix and 27% for Prime Video (source: Just Watch).
But what is the cause of this enormous acceleration of video streaming?
Acceleration of video streaming
As we mentioned, video streaming has accelerated tremendously, and we have identified 5 causes.
- The pandemic from Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of video streaming platforms.
- There is a limit to the number of services that people are willing to pay for, but ad-supported services such as YouTube or VVVID are always there and free.
- Creator-driven content is on the rise, with YouTube leading the way.
- What people watch, and how they find it, is changing. Compared to last year, many more people are willing to watch longer format content.
- Despite a slight reduction, it appears that the end of the pandemic has not resulted in a dramatic drop in subscriptions (source: thinkwithgoogle.com).
The curious factor is how, despite recent price increases on the various platforms, the number of Italian subscribers is close to 33 million, a figure that is growing. There are currently 7.9 million unique subscribers for OTT pay video platforms, of which now almost half (45% to be precise) subscribe to two or more platforms.
It’s clear that the pandemic has only accelerated a path that was already set in motion, one where the public increasingly prefers multiple ways to enjoy online video, TV series, and movies, unconstrained by time, place, and device.
Not only are the number of subscribers on the rise, so are figures related to how much time people spend on pay platforms: from one hour and 26 minutes in July 2021, to one hour and 36 minutes in January 2022.
This increase affects not only the paid platforms but also the free ones, thanks to which there is access to an increasing amount of new and free online video content. In contrast, users of these platforms spend about an hour watching free content (source: ey.com).
Looking to the future: new places and ways of doing online video
Device use continues to be linked to the type of platform used. Eighty percent of users of paid platforms prefer to use Smart TV, while the PC is used less frequently (25%), and followed by smartphones (23%).
The way free platforms approach content is different: content is often short in duration and viewing is also done on the go, which is why the smartphone is still the most used device (44%) (source: ey.com).
We have already mentioned Smart TVs and noted how this device is taking over in terms of how viewers enjoy online video content. Today’s TV is part of a landscape that has expanded and evolved. Consider that as many as 10 million Italians log on to the small screen to watch content on YouTube.
And in terms of time for watching streaming content among different devices, TV ranks first, at 56%. According to Sensemakers’ data, Connected TV increases its weight in the case of:
- families with children who live with them (63%)
- age group 35-64 (58%)
- high level of education (57%)
- full-time workers (62%)
In short, the trends are clear. In addition to new “places,” companies will also need new ways of making online video content, and this is the case with Rai Cinema.
The Rai Cinema case
Rai Cinema, which already began experimenting in the Metaverse in 2019, is launching a VR (Virtual Reality) app, becoming one of the first media companies to invest in the virtual universe. Connecting cinema with new audiences and keeping up with technological innovations is a new and appealing way to reach even younger audiences and expand the cinema experience in all its forms.
The platforms are free and accessible from mobile and PC, and users can immerse themselves in the pursuit of a space entirely dedicated to them, watching film content, exploring iconic places and objects, and participating in streaming events through their avatar.
In addition, through dedicated space at the National Museum of Cinema in Turin, visitors can see the 3D Exhibition inspired by the Manetti bros’ film Diabolik, and fans can even see a special cut of the film.
It’s clear how this kind of experience increasingly pushes companies to rethink the way they approach their consumers, offering experiences that are personalized, interactive, and engaging.
In this post, we have seen an enormous increase in the consumption of online video and the changes in our habits and how we enjoy this content.
All of this is embedded in a context of digital revolution and technological innovation that even the end of the pandemic has not been able to stop.
We can conclude by saying that the potential of video content is obvious and that the key is to take advantage of all the new technologies at our disposal to create increasingly memorable experiences.