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Jan 31, 2011 | 3 minute read

5 Ways Online Video Providers Can Attract Gen Y

written by Amanda Dhalla

It's my pleasure to introduce Amanda Dhalla to the Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog. As part of our Research and Consulting team here at Elastic Path, Amanda brings 12 years of ecommerce experience to our consulting practice and research reports. You may remember her from our recent webinar Selling Software to Consumers: Upgrade Now!. Today Amanda shares a sneak peak of our latest research on monetizing digital content.

It’s old news: online video has exploded in the last three years as more viewers demand and watch video for education and entertainment. YouTube is now the second most popular search engine after Google. Yet, while our appetite for online video shows no signs of abating, monetization remains a struggle for media providers and content owners.

So where’s the bright spot? Gen Y viewers, according to a recent study conducted by the Elastic Path consulting team on consumer behaviors and attitudes towards online video. By accommodating the unique needs of this segment, the largest American generation since the Baby Boomers and defined in our survey as people aged 18 to 34, digital distributors can improve their chances of growing revenues.

Here are 5 ways to appeal to Gen Y:

1. Promote and reward higher consumption

Gen Ys are the biggest consumers of online video. Two thirds watch at least weekly, across a diverse range of services, from YouTube and iTunes to video aggregators (e.g. Hulu, Netflix) and network websites (e.g. NBC, FOX). Along with personalized recommendations and advanced search functionality, smart media providers will offer tools for creating video playlists, volume discounts, and rewards to regular viewers (like every nth movie free) to boost customer attachment and repeat visits.

2. Make the purchase process frictionless

Having grown up with ecommerce and watched digital content become mainstream, younger consumers are significantly more likely than the average population to have already paid and be willing to pay for online video content. Providing non-credit card payment options can capture younger consumers who don’t own credit cards, while a fast 1-click checkout process like Amazon Video On Demand’s enables instant access:

Amazon Video On Demand

3. Enable multi-device access with shorter content for smaller screens

Younger adults are increasingly using mobile devices to view content when and where they want. One in four now watches video on their smartphones. Developing unique content for mobiles can support main content offerings for the larger screen and increase overall viewing time. Shorter clips like deleted scenes, trailers and even ads suit the limited attention span of multi-taskers and people on the go. Flexible, developer-friendly video publishing and ecommerce systems can help with multi-device distribution and monetization.

4. Promote social sharing to gain viewers

Gen Ys love to share their influence and information, and are twice as likely as their parents to frequently recommend videos to friends. Media distributors who encourage Facebook Likes, social sharing, ratings and reviews, and referrals will directly benefit from an increased audience for their content. Since smartphone users spend lots more time on social networking sites (particularly Facebook) than PC users, this goes double for mobile video providers.

5. Offer ad-free viewing and à la carte extras

Over 60% of younger consumers would consider paying a premium to view ad-free content, many having already done so. Companies that don’t offer the opportunity to opt out of ads through paid content risk losing out to competitors who do. Gen Ys are also more willing than older viewers to pay for high definition and 3D content, back catalog or special feature access, and interactive video content where they can recommend characters or soundtracks, vote on plot twists or follow multiple story arcs. Offering pick-and-mix upsells like these to your offerings can improve engagement and lead to higher revenues per viewer.

Interesting in learning more about monetizing digital content?

Check out our commerce resources here.