05/02/2012 01:26 EDT | Updated 07/02/2012 05:12 EDT

Some Canadians now say they watch more online video than TV: survey

TORONTO - We've long been hearing that Canadians are huge fans of watching online video, more so than web surfers in any other country. Now a new survey suggests some plugged-in Canadians are even watching more web video than they are conventional TV.

An online survey of 3,500 Canadians by Ipsos MediaCT — commissioned by Google, which owns YouTube, the most popular video site online — found about 88 per cent said they watched video on the web at least once a week.

Of those, almost one in four said they now spend more time watching online video than TV programming. Another 16 per cent said the time they spend watching content online and on TV was about the same.

About 26 per cent said they found viewing online videos more entertaining than flipping through channels and watching live TV.

When asked how many online videos they watched, the average worked out to about 7.7 per week, with 80 per cent of viewers saying they preferred to watch web clips that were 10 minutes or shorter.

Many also said they were now watching online video away from home and on their mobile devices.

About one in three smartphone owners and more than half of the tablet owners said they were using their gadgets to watch web video.

Some of the viewing numbers reported by users in the poll, which was conducted in January and February of this year, were lower than figures reported last year by the measurement firm comScore, which tracks user habits without using surveys. Those numbers suggested Canadian Internet users watched an average of about 10 videos a day.

Google says it commissioned its study to learn more about how consumers are influenced by online video in shopping and making purchasing decisions.

About 44 per cent of respondents said they were using web videos for product research more than in the previous year. But online videos aren't sparking major sales just yet. Only about 11 per cent said they made a purchase based on a video they watched.

The most influential videos of product reviews and ratings were posted by fellow users and experts, while videos posted by retailers and manufacturers were least effective in swaying consumers.