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What are People Looking at on the Internet

PEW Reasearch Center recently revealed that the audience for YouTube and other internet video sites has risen sharply the past year.

Nearly half of online adults now say they have visited such sites. And, on a typical day at the end of 2007, the share of internet users visiting video sites was nearly twice as large as it had been at the end of 2006. The basic findings in a national phone survey show: 

  • 48% of internet users said they have visited a video-sharing site such as YouTube. A year ago, 33% of internet users said they had ever visited such sites. That represents growth of more than 45% year-to-year.
  • 15% of respondents said they had used a video-sharing site "yesterday" -- the day before they were contacted for our survey. A year ago, 8% had visited such a site "yesterday." Thus, on an average day, the number of users nearly doubled from the end of 2006 to the end of 2007.
The dramatic growth in the population using video-sharing sites is tied at least in part to the popularity of such sites among men, younger adults (those under age 30), and college graduates. Nearly a third of wired young adults (30%) watch a video on a site like YouTube on a typical day and fully a fifth of online men (20%) do the same.

At the same time, growth in daily traffic surged among some other demographic groups including:
  • women, whose use on an average day jumped from 5% to 11% (or an increase of 120%)
  • those ages 30 to 49, whose use on a typical day increased from 7% to 14% (or an increase of 100%)
  • and high school graduates, whose use on a typical day grew from 5% to 13% (or an increase of 160%).
Growth in traffic is also linked to the spread of broadband connections. In our December 2006 survey, 45% of all American adults said they had broadband at home and in this most recent survey, 54% of all adults have high-speed connections at home.

Other factors are almost certainly at play in the growth of video site usage. One element is that there are more videos on sites like YouTube now than there were a year ago. Some of that growth comes from people posting their own amateur videos on such sites. In our most recent survey, we found that 22% of Americans shoot their own videos and that 14% of them post some of that video online. That is more than triple the percentage of video takers who said they had posted videos when we asked a similar question in a survey taken in February-April 2006.

The growth in sharing site usage also links to a larger story on the internet about widespread use of video offered by all kinds of websites. This phenomenon was documented in our report "Online Video."

Find additional information on the survey along with the questionnaire and topline findings at pewinternet.org.

Interest Surges in Economic News, Especially the Housing Crisis

Public interest in economic news soared last week amid continued stock market volatility and concerns about a possible recession. More than 42% followed news about the condition of the U.S. economy very closely and 20% listed this as the single news story they followed more closely than any other. That marks the highest level of public interest in economic news in five years. Interest was only somewhat greater during the recession of the early 1990s.
When asked what one economic or financial problem they have been hearing the most about in the news recently, a plurality of Americans point to problems with the housing market.

More than 31% mention the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the increasing number of home foreclosures or falling home values.

This is more than twice the percentage citing any other economic problem, and more than five times the number who cited the stock market during a week when the market lost more than 500 points.
Those who have been following economic news very closely are among the most likely to list the housing situation as the problem they have been hearing the most about in the news lately.

Fully 38% of those paying very close attention to economic news listed housing as the top issue in the news.

This compares with 34% of those following economic news fairly closely and only 18% of those who are not following economic news closely or at all.
While news organizations devoted considerable coverage to the economy last week, economic news was far overshadowed by presidential campaign coverage. Overall, 39% of all news stories were devoted to the campaign, down from 49% a week earlier, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's Campaign Coverage Index. By comparison, economic news accounted for 12% of all coverage – a substantial amount, but less than a third of the coverage devoted to the campaign.
Small majorities believe that news organizations are devoting the right amount of coverage to the economy (52%) and the presidential election (51%). However, 32% say the economy has received too little coverage, compared with just 11% who say that about the campaign.

Conversely, a 33% believes the campaign received too much coverage, compared with just 11% for the economy.
Read the full report at people-press.org

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