Broadcasters: Keep Viewers On-site, Get More Social

Broadcast networks would do well to keep viewers on their own sites rather than having them watch video through embedded players, according to new research from Brightcove and TubeMogul. In the latest version of their online video quarterly research report, the companies reported that viewers watched more broadcast content on-site, and that viewers who found content through social networking sites were more likely to watch videos longer.

Viewers watched more videos from broadcasters than any other media vertical for the ninth consecutive quarter, according to the research report. Those broadcasters served up 406 million video streams online in the second quarter, which was a 25 percent increase year-over-year.

The research also pointed to an interesting distinction between the amount of video that was viewed on broadcast sites versus through embedded players. Viewers spent 50 percent more time watching videos on broadcast sites (3:00 minutes) as they watched through off-site embedded video players (1:59). Although most broadcasters make embedded players available for full-length and short-form video content, many have done a good job of driving viewers to their own sites, as they had the smallest percentage of content viewed through embedded players among the verticals Brightcove and TubeMogul looked at.

The longer viewers spend watching videos, the more likely they are to see mid-roll and display ads against the videos. Broadcasters are also better able to monetize videos that run on their own sites as opposed to those that are embedded, because in many cases advertisers are more comfortable placing ads against videos that run on-site than those that are embedded.

In addition to keeping video viewers on-site, broadcasters would also do well to help viewers find content through social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. According to the report, those social networks delivered the most engaged viewing audiences, followed by search engines Bing (s MSFT), Yahoo (s YHOO) and Google. (s GOOG) Again, broadcasters have done a good job in trying to grow their audience through social sharing, as most broadcast video players have sharing options built in.

Many broadcast networks are beginning to experiment with social sharing through social TV apps like Miso, Philo and Tunerfish, which entice users to “check in” to their favorite programs and share their viewing habits with friends. CBS (s CBS) is even rolling out its own social TV app, called Relay, which it plans to promote through on-air programming.

While many viewers tune in to videos on broadcaster sites to catch up on episodes they might have missed, connections through social networks can help create new fans for shows online. In addition to creating a more engaged audience for the online programming, it also improves marketing for the shows during their TV broadcasts.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: From Spots to Spikes: TV Taps Into the Cloud (subscription required)