Online Video Viewership Rises 1.3%

May 3, 2010

The number of unique viewers of online video increased 1.3% year-over-year, from 130.1 million unique viewers in March 2009 to 131.7 million in March 2010, according to VideoCensus data from The Nielsen Company.

On a month-over-month basis, the number of unique online video viewers fell 0.4% from February 2010. Total video streams, about 9.26 billion, fell 4.2% from March 2009 and 10.1% from February 2010. Average minutes spent per viewer, 183.4, also declined on a year-over-year (3.8%) and month-over-month (5.5%) basis.

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YouTube Has Most Viewers Despite Sharp Decline
Although its month-over-month viewership declined 11.7%, YouTube still had the most viewers of any online brand (96.1 million) in March 2010. Yahoo, which experienced impressive 19.4% growth in month-over-month viewership, followed with 30.5 million viewers. Facebook came in third with 23.3 million viewers and 3.6% month-over-month growth.

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Although Google only ranked fourth in viewership with 15.2 million unique viewers, it reported the most significant month-over-month unique audience growth (122.9%) among the top 10 online video brands. MSN/WindowsLive/Bing, number five with 14.8 million unique viewers, had the steepest month-over-month loss (21.9%) in unique audience among the top 10 online video brands.

YouTube Loses, Still Leads in Streams
Similar to its unique audience performance in March 2010, YouTube had the most online video streams during the month (4.67 billion), despite reporting negative 21% month-over-month stream growth. Hulu, which ranked sixth in unique online audience in March 2010, ranked second in total online video streams (707.5 million), representing 9.3% month-over-month growth.

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Yahoo came in third with 244.4 million online video streams, representing 24.2% month-over-month growth. Sixth-place CBS Entertainment Network had the highest month-over-month growth among the top 10 brands by video stream (144.1 million streams, 33.9%), and fourth-ranked MSN/WindowsLive/Bing also had the steepest month-over-month loss in this category (170 million streams, 22.3%).

Netflix Dominates Time per Viewer
Online movie rental service NetFlix, which did not make the top 10 rankings in any other Nielsen VideoCensus category during March 2010, far and away had the highest average time spent per viewer (428.9 minutes) among online brands with at least 250,000 unique viewers for the month, Netflix also reported the strongest month-over-month growth in time spent per viewer (963.1%).

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Hulu came in a distant second with an average 272.4 minutes spent per viewer (11.3% month-over-month growth), followed by ABC Family with an average 183.3 minutes spent per viewer (9.9 % month-over-month decline), YouTube, which came in 10th with an average 93.7 minutes spent per viewer, reported the highest month-over-month decline (13.2%) among the leaders in this category.

Americans Watch 31.2B Online Videos in March ’10
More than 180 million US internet users watched 31.2 billion videos in March 2010, according to the comScore Video Metrix service. Americans watched a total of 13.06 billion videos on total online video leader Google Sites for the month, representing 41.8% of all online videos viewed. Google Sites were also the clear winner in terms of number of unique viewers and average videos per viewer in March 2010. About 136 million unique viewers watched an average of 96 videos during the month.

About the Data: Nielsen VideoCensus online video viewing is tracked according to video player, which can be used on site or embedded elsewhere on the web. A unique viewer is anyone who viewed a full episode, part of an episode or a program clip during the month. A stream is a program segment. VideoCensus measurement includes progressive downloads and does not include video advertising.

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