Although search engines are indispensable for discovering information and content on the internet, when it comes to video, search is a runner-up.
According to the February 2006 OPA study, 50 percent of U.S. online video viewers go to specific websites to watch video, while 48 percent discover videos randomly while on a range of websites (mostly thanks to YouTube and other video sites that make it easy to distribute content across the network). Word of mouth is also an element for finding new online videos, since 42 percent said they click on email links-- which often come from friends, family and co-workers.
Search engines were also used by 42 percent of respondents, but they are clearly not the main tools for finding video online.
Similarly, only 37 percent of respondents cited in the September 2006 AP/AOL survey said they use a search engine specifically to search for discover videos. Once again, set lists (typically browser bookmarks), word of mouth and random chance are more common methods of discovering online videos.
The inherent difficulty of indexing video content is the most significant constraint on search rather than internet users' preferences for other means of finding video. As video search becomes more effective over the next several years, it will undoubtedly become a more popular way of finding online video content, creating further opportunities for video advertising.