1 Billion Online Video Viewers by 2013?

ABI just released a report that projects a billion Web video viewers by 2013. This is presumably a unique monthly viewer count, which makes it about a 4x to 5x increase over current levels.

That’s a lot of viewers, but it could make sense if you look at evolving video technologies. Broadband penetration and killer apps like YouTube have made video a standard for hundreds of millions of users, especially younger generations and at-work users. This has even caused Google and other search engines to rethink their algorithms and SERP rankings (universal search).

Going forward, we’ll have high-speed fiber network rollouts that the likes of Verizon and AT&T will use to power their television (IPTV) and triple-play packages. But the byproduct will be some bandwidth left over for richer online media such as higher res video and 3-D mapping/metaverses. At the same time, compression technologies will improve along with graphic chips and other supporting technologies for online media, including video.

“Here, Moore’s law helps you across the board,” said Erik Jorgensen, Microsoft director of Live Maps and Virtual Earth, at TKG’s Drilling Down on Local conference last month. Microsoft’s Virtual Earth 3-D will see greater adoption when these technologies make it appealing and accessible to the mainstream. Not to mention that 3-D mapping is intuitive for a generation of gamers.

These factors all translate to online video as well. And the appeal of online video for users and advertisers continues to trickle down to the local level. Local is arguably more fertile ground for video, given the absence of intrusive forms of monetization that are necessary with most other forms of online video.

In other words, there aren’t pre-roll or overlay ads because with local merchant video — given its informative qualities for local searchers — the advertising is the content. This was all explored in a TKG White Paper last year and will be revisited in more quantitative terms in a local video forecast currently in progress.

In the meantime, a billion viewers for online video in five years? What do you think?

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