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Got a website? Then it better have video. Internet experts describe web video as the new essential–a driving force for consumers, businesses and, increasingly advertisers.

In 2012, Internet video traffic alone will be 400 times the traffic carried by the U.S. Internet backbone in 2000. Representative of this trend, Internet video has jumped to 22 percent of the global consumer Internet traffic in 2007 from 12 percent in 2006. Video-on-demand, IPTV, peer-to-peer (P2P) video, and Internet video are forecast to account for nearly 90 percent of all consumer IP traffic in 2012.

According to the recently released Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast for 2007-2012, the increasing use of video is a key trend. In 2012, Internet video traffic alone will be 400 times the traffic carried by the US Internet backbone in 2000. Representative of this trend, Internet video has jumped from 12 percent of the global consumer Internet traffic in 2006 to 22 percent in 2007. Video on demand, IPTV, peer-to-peer (P2P) video, and Internet video are forecast to account for nearly 90 percent of all consumer IP traffic in 2012.

Global business IP traffic is forecast to grow 35 percent from 2007 to 2012–the increased adoption of advanced video communications in the enterprise are major drivers for business IP traffic growth. “The broad and increasing adoption of visual networking is having a significant impact on IP traffic growth for both consumer and business services markets worldwide,” said Suraj Shetty, vice president of service provider marketing for Cisco. While video has been common on the Internet since the late 1990s, many experts trace increased demand to the explosive popularity of YouTube. The site demonstrated how short-form video could help drive businesses. In addition, YouTube and other video sites developed consumer services that make it easier to post and view video clips.

YouTube showed corporate managers that online video doesn’t have to be expensively produced to be effective, that consumers will readily seek out clips if they’re easy to access and that video can be used to build communities around brands or common interests, Bart Feder, former chief executive of The Feedroom, a New York City online video company said last year.

Diana Huff, owner of Plaistow, NH-based DH Communications, says B2B web video gives companies a way to demonstrate their products, produce commercials at less cost and inject humor into their messaging that might not otherwise fare well on television. Video that resides on a corporate website can also be aimed at a narrowly defined audience and clips can be longer than 30-second TV spots.

“Combine B2B video with YouTube,” she said, “and a company’s message can potentially be seen and heard by thousands of people who wouldn’t otherwise come across it.”

Huff recently researched how workers access YouTube. She found close to two-thirds (63.3%) of survey respondents watch YouTube videos while at work–and of those, 43.3% watch YouTube videos for both business and pleasure. “The line has blurred between consuming online content for ‘business’ and for ‘pleasure’ purposes. People no longer go online to ‘work’ or to ‘surf,’ they simply are online all the time,” she said.

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