Just How Much Online Video Can We Consume?

​We recently had an internal discussion about consumption of online video content. It’s a bit of the yin/yang of OTT video.

If more online video (with better quality) is made available to me does that mean I will necessarily watch more of it? If I substitute broadcast/linear TV for VOD/OTT then this might be true, but likely not at 50% annual growth (which is implied by some recently published reports). There is a finite amount of time people spend watching video and just because something is cheaper or there is more of it does not mean consumption must go up in kind. One could compare this to pay TV channels – back in the day when we only had 30-40 channels did people watch significantly less TV compared to today when we have 100’s? Maybe a little bit, but there are certainly diminishing returns and at the end of the day most people still only watch a handful of core channels that fit their interests/needs, most is just extra.

The rise in media tablets presents an interesting wrinkle and while these devices might prove a disruptive force, in the end the “second screen” won’t replace the TV - video consumption will evolve, but not radically change. We will certainly use these personal devices to augment our social, productive, and entertainment lifestyles, but despite the cornucopia of applications and services these devices, along with the associated wealth of content, will not become the center of our lives.

So, ultimately, the balance comes between the Yin (pervasiveness of content) and Yang (lifestyle) – the edges may appear to move, but ultimately balance is maintained.