Web Video Viewership Balloons by Two-Thirds

Internet users watched more than 10 billion videos in February, according to a comScore report released Wednesday at the annual meeting of the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas. The comScore data shows that the number of videos viewed online has risen by two-thirds since February 2007. Roughly 73 percent of Internet users in the U.S. viewed video online in February.

There is greater awareness among Internet users about online videos and that in turn has led to greater numbers of people watching them, said Elizabeth Curtis, an IDC analyst.

“[That is] due in part to the massive amounts of press it has received, and it’s become easier to find exactly what you want with minimal effort,” she told TechNewsWorld.

Video on Demand

comScore’s numbers indicate that Google-related video sites lead all other video sites by a substantial margin with more than 3.5 billion videos viewed. Fox Interactive Media, Google’s closest competitor, logged in just over 586 million videos viewed. The numbers indicate that just over 35 percent of viewers turn to Google Sites, a 1.1 percent boost over January, as opposed to 5.8 percent for Fox Interactive.

Yahoo Sites and Microsoft Sites were roughly even with 293.12 million and 293.08 million videos watched, respectively, a 2.9 percent share for each.

YouTube lead the way for Google’s dominance in online videos. The site accounted for 96 percent of all videos viewed at Google Sites.

Roughly 135 million Internet users spent an average of 204 minutes per person watching videos online in February, according to comScore. Once again Google Sites topped the list, attracting the highest number of viewers at 81.8 million. On average, each spent 109 minutes viewing videos. Fox Interactive came in second with 55.7 million viewers.

Although 10th-place finisher’s viewership was only a fraction of the leaders with 7.04 million users, they spent a significantly longer time on the site. On average, the site’s users spent 51 minutes viewing video content, second only to Google Sites.

“There’s really something for everyone out there these days. You want user-generated video, go over to YouTube. You missed an episode of ‘ER,’ ‘Lost’ or some other broadcast show, go over to the broadcaster’s site or Hulu. You want to see classic episodes like ‘Emergency,’ those are available now as well,” Mike Goodman, a Yankee Group analyst, told TechNewsWorld.

‘Snack Media’

As comScore’s YouTube numbers illustrate, most videos viewed online are still brief, user-generated clips. A little more than 80 million online viewers watched 3.42 billion videos on YouTube for an average of about 43 videos per viewer. The typical duration of an online video was 2.7 minutes.

“YouTube is still very clearly the dominant player in the user generated space and will remain so although IDC does expect to see some of its market share decline as other sites ramp up their video offerings and gain more exposure,” Curtis explained.

Although a large percentage of viewers interested in short-form videos online tend to be younger — in their teens or early 20s — a growing number of older viewers now turn to video sites to catch up on news, a missed TV episode or just check out video snippets.

“Some people will catch up on user-generated content, some will take it as time to connect with friends through some funny clip. It’s not necessarily user-generated but pro-sumer or professional video content. But it is short-form and something funny, something to kill time and can be shared with coworkers, friends and family,” said Anton Dessinov, another Yankee Group analyst.

Many employees do not have the time to spend an hour watching a TV show or movie, he told TechNewsWorld, because they have other responsibilities. “It helps to have shorter clips whatever they maybe — they do not have to be user-generated — but take less time than other tasks, we call them ‘snack media.'”

Men are more likely to watch user-generated content, according to a Yankee Group survey, while women tend to opt for music videos and hour-long TV shows, Dessinov noted.

“Younger people and males prefer user-generated content, whereas females choose to watch longer-form stuff like TV episodes and music videos,” he said.

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