Here’s another good reason to think that Apple may be planning an Apple HDTV: more and more people are watching video online.

Online video continues to increase in popularity, with 143 million Americans watching content online in 2011 according to the latest report from media analysts Nielsen ( The “2011 State of the Media Report” looked at how consumers in the USA watched video and found that although viewing content on a traditional TV is still the most popular method of watching programs, online video is reaching millions of consumers. An “iTV” could serve the best of both worlds.

The most popular video website is YouTube, which received 126.5 million unique visitors in 2011 but in terms of the time spend on the website the Google owned site comes second after Netflix. YouTube viewers spend an average of 2 hours and 52 minutes watching content on the site, compared to Netflix viewers who view for 10 hours and one minute per month.

Mobile video is also becoming more important to consumers, and 30 million people watched content on their smartphone last year. YouTube is also the most popular site on mobile devices, with other popular channels including those from TV broadcasters.

The Nielsen report also found that 34% of customers used video clips as their preferred source to find information about products and services, so with more consumers expecting video content from companies and using this content as a method of making purchasing decisions, more companies are seeing the benefits of investing in small business video.

— Dennis Sellers