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All four major TV networks enjoyed month-over-month growth in online video viewers in September, fueled by high interest in season premieres, financial news, and political news and comedic parodies, according to (pdf) data from Nielsen Online.

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NBC.com had the largest increase in video viewers, growing 312% month-over-month, followed by FOX Broadcasting and ABC.com, with 165% and 105% growth, respectively.

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“Consumers are increasingly relying on the Web to catch up on content they missed when it aired on TV and the networks are beginning to capitalize on this trend,” said Jon Gibs, VP of media analytics, Nielsen Online. “Case in point – anyone who didn’t see Tina Fey’s impersonation of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live had to log on and watch it or risk having nothing to say around the proverbial water cooler.”

The glum economic situation may be driving web visitors online for comic relief, according to Nielsen. Total video streams in a variety of entertainment categories also showed significant growth in online video viewing in September.

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Nielsen Online also provided overall online video usage and top brands ranked by video streams for September 2008. The overall number of unique viewers increased six percent month-over-month, while total streams increased 10%.

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