April 12, 2007 / 4:06 PM / in 12 years

Women don't click with Internet videos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Women prefer the remote over the mouse when it comes to watching videos even though they outnumber men in cyberspace.

A woman types on a keyboard in a file photo. Women prefer the remote over the mouse when it comes to watching videos even though they outnumber men in cyberspace. REUTERS/Catherine Benson

About 97 million women in the United States will use the Internet this year compared with 91 million men, according to a study by eMarketer.

But the report also says only 66 percent of those women are watching videos online compared to 78 percent of men.

“Men are more visual than women, who tend to communicate in writing and or in words,” said Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst with eMarketer and the author of the report.

She said at first she was shocked at the disparity between the sexes because women tend to watch more television. But she argues men are generally ahead of the technology trend.

“Women are more likely to use the Internet to get things done, to accomplish tasks, to check something off of a checklist that they need to do,” Williamson said.

“Men are more likely to use the Internet to have fun. And a lot of what you see on youtube.com is silly, time-saving kinds of things that maybe women don’t feel they have the time for, or don’t want to have the time for.”

Williamson said that despite the growth of youtube.com, women have not been part of the site’s traffic spike.

“You really do see youtube.com continuing to be more of a male-dominated video site,” Williamson said.

The study suggests women will not lag behind for long. By 2011, 84.6 percent of women will be Internet video viewers, right behind men at 88.8 percent.

“The gap is going to close pretty quickly as the content becomes available that women are interested in and they become more comfortable with it,” Williamson said.

Today’s generation of teenage girls will also make a difference because they are used to viewing video online as much as their male counterparts, she said.

Williamson said that women may eventually prefer online video because it is more flexible for their busy schedules at work and home.

“We see a really huge opportunity for TV networks to really enhance their online video offerings and provide more video that’s aimed at women.”

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