One in five online Americans view video over the Internet on any given day, thanks to speedier Internet connections and a wider selection of clips, a study finds.
Young adults watch in greater numbers and often turn to humorous clips, while all other age groups use video predominantly for news, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
On a typical day, 19 percent of U.S. Internet adults watch some form of video. News ranked first and comedy second overall.
Mary Madden, a senior research specialist at Pew, said news outlets, among the first to deliver online video, had an "early mover advantage" and got people comfortable with the idea of using the Internet for video.
But the rapid rise of the video-sharing site YouTube, which Google Inc. bought in November, drew many younger viewers. Half of video viewers ages 18-29 watch clips on YouTube, and about 15 percent cite News Corp.'s MySpace. Only 7 percent turn to a cable or network TV site.
Young adults also are more likely to send video links to friends and family and to watch online video in groups.
Those in the 18-29 age group are also more likely to have paid for video access at some point — but that's still only 10 percent of online video viewers in that group, slightly more than the 7 percent across all age groups.
Pew said having high-speed Internet access helps: A quarter of those with broadband at home watch video on a typical day, compared with 9 percent for dial-up users.
The telephone study of 1,492 Internet users 18 and older was conducted Feb. 15 to March 7 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.