Why Can't We Sit Still For Web Video?

According to a new study by Visible Measures, 44% of viewers click away from web video after just a minute. What's even crazier is that 20% give up after just 10 seconds. But that's probably a good thing.

Visible Measures' study was conducted across 40 million clips, all shorter than 5 minutes in length. On average, nearly 20% of viewers had checked out after 10 seconds; 33% were gone after the first 30 seconds; and 44% left by the time the first full minute was up.

That seems kind of gross at first blush, like some confirmation of our glossy-eyed web-nation's goldfish attention span. But would it be better if we were all sticking around for all those YouTube videos? With the wealth of video that flashes before us everyday, a discerning viewership is a good thing, lest every worker in every office watch bunnies in cups for the entire three minutes instead of just getting the picture and switching back to Excel.

And what Visible Measures doesn't mention, though I imagine is the case, is that those 10 seconds 20% of us are watching aren't necessarily the first 10 seconds of any given clip. Unless the video's title has some serious promise or its poster frame is truly golden, I'll almost always click across the video's play bar to see if it's worth my time. No one reads the newspaper front to back—we glance, dip in, and dive out. We skim. And as far as web video goes, I'd say skimming is a pretty essential technique. [Visible Measures via NYT]

Image credit thms.nl