ARS Technica published results of a survey from Pew on usage of video sharing websites like YouTube. The report says 48% of US adults used sites like YouTube in 2007, up from 33% in 2006.
People are visiting more frequently, too. The survey found that 15 percent of people watched video at such a site "yesterday," nearly double the 8 percent that said this in 2006.
Not surprisingly, the biggest numbers come from the youngest demographic. 70 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds use video-sharing sites, and the numbers drop off quickly after that (though 16 percent of seniors apparently YouTube as well). Because the survey only covered adults, it's quite possible that it missed out on even higher numbers of middle school and high school students.
The huge number of people now consuming video online supports the contention of the Writers Guild that the future is all about online distribution, and that writers need to be paid better for Internet uses of content. That's been one of the main sticking points in negotiations so far; the producers know it, too, and don't want to give any ground.
But the fact that so much interest is being shown in video-sharing sites that deal largely with non-network and non-studio content could also be a warning sign. Users want compelling content, and they've shown that they are more than willing to turn to YouTube and other sources like FunnyorDie to get a fix.