- 76% of consumers agree that fun and positive online video content will become an even more important and popular source of entertainment in the future
- 26% of the public stated that they watch positive online video content to improve their mood
- More than half of consumers in the UK (52%) spent between 30 minutes to three hours watching short online video content every day
As COVID-19 continues to transform the way consumers are interacting with media, TheSoul Publishing, one of the largest independent digital studios, has looked into changing viewer habits. It surveyed more than 2,000 men and women aged 16-55+, across the United Kingdom, to understand how the pandemic has altered viewing habits and preferences for digital content.
- Overall, the findings show the nation has a strong interest in being creative and upskilling. As restrictions limit consumers’ dining and entertainment options, 73% of Brits have watched a YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or TikTok video for home project inspiration, crafting ideas, DIY activities, and/or cooking.
- Short-form video content – videos of 10 minutes or less were growing in popularity before the pandemic hit, with younger audiences in particular flocking to a variety of streaming and social media platforms. However, the pandemic has served as a catalyst for massive growth of the medium, as a whopping 82% of audiences cited spending more or the same amount of time watching short-form videos during the pandemic than before, with many using these quick videos to help them adjust to and cope with disruptions to everyday life.
- The new research also revealed a growing preference for positive content amid the pandemic. In particular, consumers are watching more short-form videos – videos of 10 minutes or less – than they did six months ago. Respondents indicated that music videos (26%), comedy (26%), cooking or baking (22%), and DIY or crafting videos (18%) were the most frequently selected categories over the period.
- Looking ahead to what people will be watching in 2021, comedy videos are predicted to show the fastest growth in terms of popularity. 35% of Brits felt comedy content is most likely to increase in popularity, with music videos following at 28%.
“It’s interesting to see that it’s not just any short-form video that’s resonating with British people right now. It’s positive content that has taken the spotlight, becoming a popular form of escapism and a welcome source of entertainment,” said Victor Potrel, VP of Platform Partnerships at TheSoul Publishing. “For content creators and brands looking to get in front of shoppers around the holiday season, there’s a lot that can be learned about what is most likely to resonate and break through.”
For example, nearly 26% of the public stated that they watch positive online video content to improve their mood, 27% said they watch for inspiration for ideas and projects and 17% said they watch to escape from the news of the day. Most expect this trend to continue, with 76% of consumers agreeing that fun and positive online video content will become an even more important and popular source of entertainment in the future.
Beyond the nation’s preference for positive short-form content, the study surfaced a variety of trends that illustrate how online videos factor into their everyday:
Digital distraction: Since lockdown restrictions came into effect, statistics show that over half of consumers in the UK (52%) spent between 30 minutes to three hours watching short online video content every day.
Americans are ahead of the trend: When compared to the US, Brits are actually behind on the move towards online positive content. Whilst a fifth of Brits now consider watching positive online videos an important part of their daily routine to maintain a healthy lifestyle, in America that figure is up to more than one in three. Whilst 30% of Brits spent more time watching short-form video content during pandemic, that number was up to 42% in America.
Long live the trusty smartphone: Currently, in the U.K., double the number of consumers share that they are watching short form videos on their smartphone (49%) compared to watching on their computer (26%). 16% watch on a tablet and 7% watch on their television. Looking ahead to 2021, 42% of Brits believe that they will primarily be watching short online video content on their phones next year. 22% believe they will primarily use their computer, 17% say a tablet, and 8% plan to watch mostly on a television. Less likely are smartwatches (3%), glasses (1%) or VR headset (1%).
Online video “shareability” has little to do with length: A mere 10% of Brits said that an online video being short is the most important indicator of its shareability. Topping the list at 32%, the largest number of British consumers believe that a video being interesting makes it most shareable. This is followed by the content being funny (27%), relatable (14%) or helpful (9%). Notably, Germans were the most likely to prioritise content being helpful, at 24%, vs 9% for the UK and 12% in the US. Brits were the most likely to pick funny when it comes to what makes content shareable, at 27%, vs. 21% in the US and 20% in Germany.
Why are we watching? Currently, over a quarter (26%) of Brits stated that they watch positive online video content to improve their mood, 27% said they watch for inspiration for ideas and projects and 17% said they watch to escape from the news of the day. Most expect this trend to continue, with 76% of consumers agreeing that fun and positive online video content will become an even more important and popular source of entertainment in the future.
Short-form is the next big thing: As UK consumers have grown accustomed to trusting short-form content to improve their moods and maintain a healthy lifestyle, this data shows that 80% of consumers will continue to watch at least as much or increase their consumption of short-form content in 2021.