FWM Digital Bytes

Digital News from FWMIn this week’s FWM Bytes, we talk about the Hitwise report on the growth of online video and social media, smartphones and prosthetics, Netflix, and the YouTube Insult Generator.

The Dominance of Video and Social Media

Hitwise has recently released a report exploring the explosive growth of online video media in the past few years, highlighting that social media and entertainment are the two biggest (and still growing) categories online.

While it’s no secret that social media has become the dominant way in which we spend our time online, video is also swiftly becoming one of the biggest categories for UK internet visits. Approximately 3.4 billion hours a month are spent online in the UK (which equates to an epic 387,870.5 Earth years), of which 800 million are spent on social networks such as Facebook. With YouTube being the second biggest social network (as well as the second largest search engine), it may then come as no surprise that we are spending more and more time online watching videos – some 240 million hours per month, to be exact. Over 70% of video visits are to YouTube, making it now the third largest website in the UK after Google and Facebook.

Between September 2010 and September 2011, internet visits to online video sites grew by 36%, according to the Hitwise report, and some 86% of the UK internet population visits a video site at least once a month. With 48 hours of content uploaded every minute worldwide onto YouTube, you start to wonder, what kind of content are people watching aside from fail videos and amusing cat clips? The Hitwise report reveals that the entertainment category dominates video content, with the majority of search clicks looking for music clips (33%). TV is second, accounting for 17% of searches, which stands as testament to the increasing popularity in the UK of on-demand video sites such as BBC iPlayer. TV programs like X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent have branded channels that capitalise on this high number of searches for video content.

So what’s the conclusion of Hitwise’s impressive stats? Capitalise on video. The effective use of online videos can be used to drive traffic to your site and increase the amount of time users spend there. Well thought out video campaigns to raise brand awareness or promote a product or service can go viral and can be an extremely effective way of targeting your desired audience, as well as outreaching to new customers.

Prosthetic iArm

High-tech prosthetics are becoming increasingly common as technological advances across the board bring about new innovations. Last month, a Canadian documentary maker revealed his bionic eye that he could shoot films with. This month, it’s smart limbs. Trevor Prideaux, who was born without his left arm, has become the first person to have a prosthesis that has a smartphone embedded into the forearm. After realising the difficulty he was having in using smartphones to phone and text, he teamed up with Nokia and the Exeter Mobility Centre in Devon to create this bespoke limb. He first approached Apple to ask for a blank iPhone case to test out the initial phase but was rejected. Prideaux then turned to Nokia for help and now has a Nokia C7 that sits inside this ground-breaking limb, offering him greater ease of use.

Prideaux comments that this kind of technology could be of great use to a variety of individuals, which will no doubt inspire the creation of other similar prosthetic and bionic equipment: “This is a leap forward which has helped me out a lot and can also aid others.”

Netflix to Cross the Pond

Netflix, the US online TV and movie rental service, is set to launch in the UK and Ireland in 2012. After previously shelving plans to enter the European market several years ago, Netflix will now be nestling in amongst Amazon’s LoveFilm and Google’s YouTube to offer unlimited streaming of films and TV shows to UK audiences for the princely sum of £5 a month. The US-based company has been posturing in the media with large TV networks such as CBD and Fox after acquiring first viewing rights to popular dramas directly from distributors and producers. Having started off in 1997 by delivering rentals by post, the company will offer only its streaming service in the UK.

Netflix’s announcement comes in the wake of a mass exodus of subscribers in the US following a 60% price hike that came into effect in September. With over 800,000 paid subscribers leaving the company, its customer base has dropped to 23.79 million, as of September 2011. After a fairly unstable year and in such a highly competitive environment, it will be interesting to see how Netflix fares against an already well-established UK market.

Your Mother Was a Hamster and Your Father Smelt of Elderberries

Half the amusement (or despair) of YouTube can be found in reading the ridiculous comments that accompany videos. Trolls roam freely and there’s seemingly no subject that will be left untouched by pointless ranting and mindless abuse. But, with so many different subjects and such a colorful array of insults, web developer Adrian Holovaty has come up with the YouTube Insult Generator, a “search engine for insults” if you will… Have a play – some of the results are really quite amusing