YouTube Sucking In More Viewers

Step aside, boob tube. Online videos are becoming the primary form of media entertainment for many people. Web surfers spent about an hour more per month watching videos in November compared with January, according to the latest comScore Video Metrix.

Specifically, they watched an average of 3.25 hours, or 195 minutes, of online video during the month, representing a 29 percent gain from 2.52 hours, or 151 minutes, watched in January 2007.

The average online video runs about 2.8 minutes, giving the average viewer time to consume 69 of these productions.

Google sites captured the largest online video audience with 76.2 million unique viewers, followed byFox Interactive Media with 46.3 million and Yahoo sites with 37.3 million.

YouTube Rules

Most of the viewers trekking to Google sites, of course, actually went straight to YouTube, a big tent destination that is home to everything from purloined TV shows to battle scenes shot in Iraq to customer service protests to political messages from candidates.

Thanks to its billion-dollar investment in YouTube, Google’s share of the online video market is edging past 30 percent and still climbing. In November, its share had increased by 2 percentage points from October, according to the comScore statistics.

The YouTube fan base also appears to be more devoted to the Web site: comScore found that 74.5 million people viewed 2.9 billion videos on YouTube.com — averaging 39 videos per viewer. This compares with 43.2 million people who viewed 389 million videos on MySpace — an average of nine videos per viewer.

Rising Tide

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” said Mike Goodman, an analyst with the Yankee Group, referring to Google’s effect on the online video environment. Unlike search and many of the applications it has developed in house, Google bought its way into this particular industry niche, but has since managed to leverage its investment well.

“There are no competing destinations to YouTube if you are measuring by volume,” Goodman told TechNewsWorld. He doesn’t anticipate the site losing its appeal even as Google incorporates it into its various advertising initiatives.

All together, Americans viewed nearly 9.5 billion online videos in November, with 2.9 billion viewed at YouTube. Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 419 million videos viewed (4.4 percent), followed by Yahoo with 328 million (3.5 percent), and Viacom Digital with 304 million (2.6 percent).

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