70 Percent of Adult Internet Users Watch Videos Online

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Watching videos online has gone mainstream. A new survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that nearly 70 percent of Americans have used the Internet to watch one or more of the following: video clips, TV shows, movies; educational videos.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Pew found adults 18-29 years old continue to be the heaviest consumers of online video.

The survey — phone interviews with about 700 American Internet users— also details the increase of Internet video viewership since 2007. Viewership of humorous videos rose from 31 percent to 50 percent of adult Internet users. Similarly, viewership of educational videos rose 16 percent; movies and TV shows viewers doubled to 32 percent; and political video viewers also doubled to 30 percent.

"The spread of broadband, the increased use of social networking and status update sites like Facebook and Twitter, the popularity of video-sharing sites like YouTube, and the embrace of video features by untold numbers of websites, have all contributed to the surge in online video watching," said Kristien Purcell, Associate Director for Research at Pew, in a statement.

It's not just user-generated videos that are gaining traction; professional content is getting more popular. The study found that 8 percent of online video watchers have connected their computers to their televisions in order to watch online video, and 10 percent of online video watchers have paid to watch or download a video.

On the flip side, more people are uploading their own content, too. Pew found that 14 percent of Internet users have uploaded a video to YouTube or similar sites. That’s nearly double the number of video sharers in 2007.

Interestingly, the survey also reveals that people are far more interested in streaming movies and TV shows from sites or services such as Netflix rather than downloading the video files to their computers to be played later. Over 60 percent of Internet users watch TV shows and movies from streaming sites, whereas only 23 percent download videos.

This indicates the idea of video ownership and physical movie rentals aren't an issue for most online video watchers.