Watching video on the Internet is different from watching on a home television set. In front of the TV set, viewers tend to sit passively viewing long form programming. On the Internet, they tend to watch shorter, bite-sized chunks of video that last only minutes.
That said, consumers watch a huge amount of online video—more than three billion clips a day on YouTube alone. More videos are uploaded in a month than the three major U.S. television networks created in 60 years.
Even with those huge numbers, audiences still watch far more video on TVs than on computers. We watched nearly five hours a day on TV in 2010, according to Nielsen, compared with less than 30 minutes on YouTube.
Remixation, a start-up based in San Francisco, has studied these trends and wants to change the way people watch television on new mobile devices like Apple’s iPad. It’s new app, called Showyou, allows a new way to view video content in a magazine-like format on Apple’s iPads, iPhone and iTouch.
In essence, it pulls all the video clips from YouTube, Vimeo and other social networks into a format that displays them as thumbnail-sized images and titles. On the iPad, these videos are arranged in a distinctive two-dimensional video grid. This format—said to be easy on the eyes—allows the viewer to use his or her fingers to easily navigate the grid. Movement can be up, down, right, left or diagonal.
If the user signs in to Showyou with a Facebook or Twitter account, the app will fetch all the videos posted by friends and gather them in a single place. (Users can also connect their accounts on YouTube, Vimeo, Tumblr and other networks.) Using Airplay and Apple TV, users can also use Showyou to watch videos on a television.
Mark Hall, the founder and chief executive of Remixation, told the “New York Times” that Showyou gives users a video-watching experience more akin to television, rather than the “occasional-stumbling-across-something model” of Facebook and Twitter. “This is more the I’m-going-to-turn-it-on experience,” Hall said. “It’s sitting down and watching. You don’t do that with Facebook and Twitter because you can’t.”
Hall gave the newspaper some statistics that demonstrate how different the behavior of Showyou viewers are from that of typical Internet video viewers. The average video watching session of a Showyou user on the iPad, he said, is 35 to 40 minutes.
While a lot of Internet video watching occurs around midday when people are in an office, prime time for Showyou viewers are pretty much the same as prime time on television: 8 to 11 p.m. Afternoons on Saturdays and Sundays are also big times for Showyou use, he said.
In contrast, the “Times” reported that the amount of time the average person spends on YouTube is about eight minutes a day. This was based on estimates from Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG Research.
Hall said that over the past nine months, the iPad has illustrated the direction television is going in. “This is becoming the TV,” he told the newspaper, holding up an iPad.