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Hi Lemon Chip,
Videos have all sorts of online value but I think your primary question and observations about videos in SERPS relates to Google’s Mar/Apr 12 changes to boost “Universal” ranking results in certain search phrases. Is that correct?

This is all driven by the use of mobile phones and G’s recognition that they need to reduce the need for keyboard use on mobile phone searches.

For shorter search phrases G has made its “Universal” algorithm much more dominant. G can predict that on the next modification of their search phrase a large number of these searchers are looking for e.g. videos. As a result, G throws a number of video pages into the results.

It all depends on the initial search phrase. Universal results can change dramatically. Some times you will see that “Universal” is going to predict that large groups of a specific search user group are going to next look for any of these variations: term definitions, shops, more scholarly articles, news, pictures, videos, jobs, etc.

SEO has become so much more complex this year.