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A new study from Hitwise, the research group, has discovered that video sites are fast becoming among the most popular on the web. Top of the tree over the last 12 months was YouTube, followed by BBC’s iPlayer. Further down the list were Google Video and Channel 4 TV.

The shift in consumer habits has led to a 40 per cent rise in internet traffic to video sites in the last 12 months. It ought to go without saying that reports of the study’s findings should act as a reminder to UK consumers to closely monitor their broadband usage, lest they exceed their limits and get hit with extra charges.

But the trend doesn’t just have implications for consumers, of course. Far more pertinent is the effect that it is having on ISPs, who are already warning that their networks are under strain. It may be a long way away, but we dread to think of the connection speeds that people might be receiving next Christmas, when demand for video services is at its peak.

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